SEPTA testing software that uses AI to scan for guns

SEPTA testing software that uses AI to scan for guns

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) SEPTA is launching a pilot program that uses artificial intelligence to help detect guns on the system, providing an early warning for police.

The ZeroEyes software works with SEPTA’s existing camera network to scan images from surveillance cameras in real-time and alert police if a weapon is detected.

“What it does essentially is it triggers on anything that looks like a gun,” explained acting SEPTA Police Chief Chuck Lawson.

To reduce false positives, Lawson said people at the ZeroEyes operations center in Conshohocken examine the scans before police are notified.

“They will have human people verify that it is an actual gun before that alert triggers us,” he assured.

The system does not use facial recognition technology, nor does it store video. The SEPTA Board on Thursday approved a $63,000 contract to test the gun detection system for the next six months.

“Part of the fight against an increase in gun violence in this city is technology,” said Lawson. “It’s going to be part of the answer for us.”

Whether it’s a real gun or not isn’t important, he added. What is, he said, is a faster response time that could save a life.

The program will likely be used at 10 stations on the Market-Frankford and Broad Street lines, starting in a couple of months.

SEPTA is the first major transit system to try out the ZeroEyes software, which is used by the U.S. Department of Defense, public universities, Fortune 500 corporate campuses and other organizations across more than half of states in the U.S.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Robert Scheer/IndyStar/USA Today Network

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