Researchers are developing a real-time drone survelliance system to identify violence in crowds before it occurs. Imagine your every move being watched and analysed by drones designed to predict – and stop – violent behaviour. It sounds like a scene from Black Mirror, but researchers are trialling a drone surveillance system that does just that – and it could come to a festival near you.

The ominously-named Eye in the Sky program uses artificial intelligence that compares live-streamed drone footage to violent actions such as punching, stabbing, kicking and strangling. Any movements it deems aggressive are flagged with law authorities.

The program, developed by researchers in India and the UK, will be trialled at two events on Indian university campuses this year – a technology fair and a music festival. Lead researcher Amarjot Singh from the University of Cambridge hopes the technology will help close gaps in surveillance and lead to a reduction in crime.

“The problem is in public spaces where crowd density is quite large or in developing countries where we don’t have enough CCTV cameras,” he told ABC’s Sunday Extra. “For example, in India there were riots recently and we didn’t have enough cameras to monitor everything.”

The same technology has been used to locate abandoned bags in busy public areas, and to detect ATM theft, with an accuracy rate of 96 percent. In the wake of terrorist attacks in cities like Manchester and Boston, festivals around the world have begun turning to drones to monitor crowds. Read more from…

thumbnail courtesy of