Sacramento tests AI-powered cameras for school buses

To prevent motorists from illegally passing school buses while they pick up and drop off students, Sacramento is testing artificial intelligence-powered stop-arm cameras on five of its buses. It plans to use data from the cameras and on-board sensors to learn where and when violations occur so it can improve enforcement at violation hotspots.

The city is partnering with BusPatrol, a bus safety technology company, to equip the buses with AI-enabled cameras and internet-of-things sensors. When a bus is stopped, cameras are activated, and the Automated Violation Analysis system sends video, GPS and telemetry information via an encrypted LTE network to the cloud. filters the footage before trained staff remotely scan the footage for evidence packages for police, who can then review these to decide whether a violation has been committed. The information can also be shared with other local agencies to reduce the number of incidents at stopped school buses.

According to the Sacramento City Unified School District, the pilot program will highlight the need for better enforcement of school bus safety laws. The results will support a legislative campaign that could see the introduction of automated stop-arm cameras throughout the entire state.

“The safety and care we hold for our Sacramento City Unified students goes beyond the walls of our classrooms,” Sacramento City Board of Education President Christina Pritchett said. “Our partnership with BusPatrol demonstrates our commitment to find innovative ways to increase student safety at neighborhood bus stops throughout our community.”

About the Author

Shourjya Mookerjee is an associate editor for GCN and FCW. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, and has written for Vox Media, Fandom and a number of capital-area news outlets. He can be reached at [email protected] – or you can find him ranting about sports, cinematography and the importance of local journalism on Twitter @byShourjya.

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