Amazon patent filing describes computer vision parcel theft protection system for smart home devices
Amazon has invented a system for detecting and recording package theft and alerting homeowners, based on smart home devices such as doorbells with audio and visual capabilities, according to a patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The patent for “Sharing Video Footage from Audio/Video Recording and Communication Devices for Parcel Theft Deterrence” describes a system in which a camera captures an image of a drop-off zone, a parcel theft deterrence application monitors the parcel in the drop-off zone, and associating it with tracking data, and if the parcel is removed, a parcel theft share signal is generated, and shares image data with a network of users.
The inventors note that theft of packages, particularly related to ecommerce, is an increasingly common problem, and say that the functionality of wireless systems with A/V capabilities could be leveraged to deter theft, or possibly help the identification and apprehension of criminals. In other words, the need to protect Amazon deliveries from theft has led Amazon to a new product idea.
In addition to object recognition to identify and monitor the parcel, the system could use an RFID or smart card reader, or any physical or behavioral biometric factor, to identify the person authorized to remove the parcel from the drop-off area. Voice-enabled devices could even prompt individuals to provide their identification when detected within the drop-off area.
Amazon has been working on networking home security systems with facial recognition with a patent published shortly after the company bought smart camera and doorbell maker Ring last year, and a partnership announced earlier this year between Ring and a Tampa-area police force. Delivery contractors working with Amazon Flex are also now required to verify their identity with facial biometrics.