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October 29, 2004

UMN Receives Transit Surveillance Contract


The Department of Homeland Security has awarded the University of Minnesota a $1.8M contract for automated monitoring of a major intermodal transit station. Tying together over 50 existing cameras and adding 50 more, the University system will greatly improve security officer efficiency and reduce the cost of maintaining the security of large public spaces.

Principal Investigator, Dr. Osama Masoud, explained, “The individual monitoring of over one hundred cameras would consume the attention of tens of security personnel — an expensive and inefficient proposition for situations that seldom ever arise. Our system will permit one operator to efficiently monitor all cameras by highlighting his or her attention only on ‘suspicious events.’” Added Co-Investigator Dr. Richard Voyles, “The system itself will look for abandoned packages and suspicious behavior, actually learning what lies inside and outside the realm of ‘normal human activity.’ If suspicious behavior is detected, it is only flagged for human interpretation. A human will always be responsible for the final determination of appropriate action.”

The research and development contract spans two years and contains optional extensions totaling over $5M, based on performance.