Imagine a world where all vehicles are equipped with technology that allows them to “see” the world around them. Such technology could serve as an extra pair of eyes for the driver, scanning the environment for hazards, and alerting him or her to potential collisions. It might even proactively help the driver make evasive maneuvers, particularly in situations where slivers of seconds can mean the difference between life and death. In that world, the technology in the vehicle serves as a guardian, a sentry that’s always vigilant, always watching out for the driver and everyone around it.
The technology that promises such a future is the combination of machine vision and artificial intelligence. Machine vision (MV) confers the ability to see and recognize objects and human behavior using images, while artificial intelligence (AI) includes all types of machine intelligence such as collision detection, risky driving behavior detection, and voice recognition. Together, MV+AI is meant to cast its gaze upon the world, understand what it sees, and anticipate what could happen next — much like how humans observe and process things in real time. And, like people, modern artificial intelligence algorithms are capable of learning and becoming more sophisticated and more accurate with its predictions as it acquires more data.
This scenario is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Already, applications of machine vision and artificial intelligence exist in manufacturing, health care, and transportation.