In previous posts, we’ve covered ‘What is Computer Vision and How Does it Work’. We’ve also covered ‘Computer Vision in Our Everyday Lives’. In this post, we are going to take a look at what is currently being developed using computer vision. We recommend taking a look at the other two posts first to get up to speed. If you’re already up to speed, let’s delve in and take a look at what’s to come in the world of computer vision.
Computer Vision Potential for Warehouses
The job of managing the inventory of a large warehouse is very labour intensive. Think about how many different products you would be storing if you had a 250’000 square foot warehouse. Keeping a record and inspecting those products takes hundreds of man hours which is a big cost for any business. One way in which developers are trying to counteract this problem is through using drones equipped with computer vision cameras.
Imagine half a dozen inventory counting drones that are programmed to know the layout of the warehouse. In between manned shifts, these clever little drones could fly through the warehouse to count and inspect stock. All whilst logging what they find. Workers then know what they need to order in or ship out etc… If I had said that to you 20 years ago, you would have called me mad and ran for the hills. However, this is all becoming reality, and quicker than you might think!
Computer Vision Potential for Healthcare
Another industry that could reap huge benefits from the use of computer vision is the healthcare sector. Microsoft launched a project called InnerEye back in 2008. With the main aim of producing more accurate and efficient diagnosis of cancer. This is closer to being achieved each day with oncologists, radiologists and surgeons beginning to use computer vision technology to identify miss-shaped organs. The InnerEye project will be able to help doctors even more by identifying the exact size and positions of tumours. Only when this has been achieved can treatments such as radiotherapy and surgery be used. InnerEye will also be able to suggest which treatment should be used for each individual case.
At the moment this isn’t being used on a large scale, radiologists usually need to study more than 100 images, each showing a different thin section of the brain. Only then can they begin to mark out the border of a tumour to start treatment. In the near future, when this type of computer vision is available for all cancers, the process of mapping out where the tumour is will take minutes rather than days. The potential benefits this holds is huge for the identification and treatment of various different cancers.
Autonomous Cars Using Computer Vision
The thought of self-driving cars is one that we are all relatively familiar with. However, there still isn’t a completely self-driving car out there on the roads. In order to achieve this, developers are constantly trying to improve computer vision for autonomous vehicles. We’ve all heard of Tesla and they are often considered to be at the forefront of self-driving cars. However Waymo, the name given to Google’s self-driving car project is actually the most advanced at this moment in time. But why?
When you really think about it, this isn’t much of a surprise as computer vision essentially relies on data. Whether that is data on regular events that occur during day-to-day driving or data for object recognition such as people or cars. This is why Google, being the king of data, are at the top of the autonomous car food chain. It won’t be long before self-driving cars are a part of our everyday lives. When I say it won’t be long, I really mean it… Analysts have predicted that driverless cars will become widespread between 2020 and 2040!
We’ve mentioned Tesla and although Google is at the top, Tesla isn’t far behind. Many of the cars that they produce, even today, have autonomous features. We’re not just talking about cameras to prevent you from drifting out of a lane on a motorway. Through computer vision, some of these cars can actually ‘see’ what objects and vehicles are around you. As well as being able to identify road signs and traffic lights. In fact, Tesla cars are becoming so advanced they can look under the car in front of you, identify cars ahead and take into account these traffic patterns. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it feels like Star Trek was never that far-fetched…
The Future of Computer Vision Drones
We’ve already touched on drones in the first section of this post but it doesn’t stop there for our flying friends. Through computer vision, drones and robots will become part of our daily lives in the future. The potential of computer vision technology really is endless. Imagine the benefits of a fleet of firefighting drones, or a robot that can cut down trees and deliver water to extinguish a forest fire.
There are many other different scenarios that we face where computer vision technology can help. Search and rescue for example. Much like the fleet of firefighting drones, we could have fleets of drones sent to search for lost walkers, earthquake survivors or people lost at sea. None of this would be possible without the advancement of computer vision technology.
The future of agriculture is also looking bright through the use of computer vision drones. Farmers will be able to monitor fields of crops. Even check for signs of drought and test different soil conditions to optimise fertilisation and in turn, the harvest. Producing more crops would obviously reap benefits for both the farmer and the consumer showing the importance of computer vision
And that’s a wrap!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this post which is essentially part 3 of our computer vision posts. Remember, if you’re interested in the topic of computer vision or web development in general, take a look at our knowledge base for a wealth of free to read blog posts.