- Cities that are slowly resuming normalcy but maintaining social distancing measures could get a boost from Anaheim, CA-based iinside, which unveiled technology powered by LiDAR from Quanergy to monitor and analyze crowd density in high-trafficked buildings.
- The technology, known as IQueue SafeDistance, uses LiDAR sensors placed throughout a venue or facility. It can then identify overcrowding and send an alert to the building manager. Those sensors combined with data analytics can also predict when an overcrowding situation may occur.
- Existing iQueue customers will be able to use the SafeDistance upgrade at no charge. Those customers include several U.S. airports like Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), Indianapolis International Airport (IND), McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas (LAS) and Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI).
As state governments discuss when to reopen the economy, the debate over how long social distancing guidelines should last continues to rage. Some leaders fear the economic costs of staying under shelter-in-place orders, while others are worried about the public health consequences of returning to "normalcy" too soon. Leaders at iinside hope this solution could help strike a middle ground.
"We recognize that the world will be a very different place once shelter-at-home mandates are lifted and public venues re-open," CEO Sam Kamel said in a statement. "We wanted to do our part to help restore the public’s confidence in going to the airport, a sports arena, or any other venue."
LiDAR technology is seen by many as a key safety feature for autonomous vehicles (AVs), with companies including Volvo, Cisco and Apple looking to invest heavily in it as they work on self-driving technology. Meanwhile, as it publicly tests its AVs on a limited basis, Waymo has bet big on LiDAR, and last year started selling its custom sensors to help expand the market and bring down the cost of the equipment.
But LiDAR does have its naysayers. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously said pursuing developments in the technology is a "fool's errand" due to its expense and that it will soon be obsolete in AVs. Although those that support the use of LiDAR said it will be part of a suite of safety tools.
While the technology will not actively prevent the spread of any infection, especially in places like airports that could be rife with germs, it could give city leaders a new understanding of social distancing measures and adherence from residents and visitors.
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