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Amazon Deploys Cameras to Enforce Social Distancing in Warehouses, Offices

By Donna Fuscaldo – Jun 16, 2020 at 12:01PM

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The real-time technology will alert employees if they aren't staying 6 feet apart.

Amazon (AMZN -0.54%) is deploying cameras to ensure employees maintain social distancing while at work. 

In a blog post, the tech stock said the technology, dubbed "Distance Assistant" will give employees real-time feedback if they aren't staying 6 feet apart. 

A yellow social distancing sign with 6 Feet in the middle.


Relying on a 50-inch monitor, camera, computer, and AI software, when employees walk past the cameras positioned in high trafficked areas a monitor displays a live feed with visual overlays showing if employees are a safe distance from one another. If they are, they will be highlighted on the monitor with a green circle if they are too close a red circle will appear around their image. 

"The on-screen indicators are designed to remind and encourage associates to maintain appropriate distance from others. The self-contained device requires only a standard electrical outlet, and can be quickly deployed to building entrances and other high-visibility areas," Amazon wrote in the blog. 

The company's first "Distance Assistants" are live in a few of Amazon's offices but it plans to deploy hundreds of the units during the coming weeks. Amazon also wants to share the technology with other businesses, saying in the blog it's in the process of making the software and AI behind the system open source.

Faced with criticism that Amazon didn't do enough to protect workers from the COVID-19 disease, the e-commerce giant has been placing an emphasis on ensuring employees adhere to its social distancing rules. It even went as far as to warn employees back in April that they could face disciplinary measures if they didn't stay at least 6 feet apart. Employees get a write up for the first violation, and a second could get them fired. 

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Donna Fuscaldo has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and recommends the following options: short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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