We had won the grand prize at an APAC-level hackathon and he got a chance to go to a startup conference in HongKong this summer. But due to the pandemic, it was canceled. Now, we are not sure if we’ll go even if the conference is next year. We realized this would be the case for many travelers, both leisure and business. One of the major problems would be making travelers gain the confidence to travel again. We decided to do something to encourage people to travel, by assuring them of safety.
What it does
We have created software services for hotels, airports, parks, restaurants, museums, theatres, and other enclosed private tourist spots. Our system will automatically detect whether people are following social distancing and whether they are wearing masks or not, from CCTV footage. These places can advertise that they’re using an automated system to ensure safety, and this will attract more tourists. The other facet of our solution is a website for travelers/tourists. This service can be used by any travel company as an additional service to the users. Users can pick a destination and a date of interest. We will show them the updates of that city, and give the estimated number of cases along with news of that place. This estimation is based on a predictive ML model. This will help users make an informed decision and they can postpone their trip well in advance, without losing out money on cancellation charges. This will also help air travel companies and hotels, who have to bear losses if a person cancels their stay. Lastly, an online immigration form will be provided to minimize physical touchpoints.
How I built it
We have taken a sample recording of the CCTV camera footage. A machine learning model detects and classifies various bounding boxes based on the distance between people in the video. Also, we have the Mask detection algorithm which was built using CNN and it checks whether people are wearing a mask or not and creates a bounding box around the face. So the viewer knows the number of people violating the norms. These models were built in Python. For COVID trend prediction, we had used the RNN model. For news and daily updates of the COVID cases, the data is scraped online and displayed on the website available online. The website for travel users (of the hotel, market, tourist spot) was built using React, Firebase, and Node.
Challenges I ran into
Data Privacy was the one challenge we encountered during this Hackathon. However, the service which we will be providing will enable the private tourist places to analyze the data and count the number of people maintaining the social distancing norms without giving any private information of the person from the CCTV frames. The clients will just have to push the data in the backend for our analysis so that we can give them a safety rating. In the future, we plan to add a pipeline which will blur the faces of the people present to provide an even safer and secure service.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We are proud of the fact that our project will help many travelers, both leisure and business in the aftermath of this pandemic. We will be providing one of the major strengths to travelers that are gaining confidence to travel again. We are really happy to be part of the change that will boost & encourage people to travel safely.
What I learned
We learned the importance of teamwork and work together even though not being in touch physically. We interacted with online and distributed tasks to each other. We learned to ideate and come up with an innovative solution in a short span of time. We faced many challenged while the hackathon but we were determined to go on and we persevered.
What's next for EmergeX
The next plan would be to host our entire web application on the cloud. The ML models and the backend will be deployed on the cloud. In phase 1, we would like to try out this solution locally. We will tie-up with local hotel chains and tourist spots in Mumbai and devise a basic billing plan to start earning revenues along with other travel agencies so that they can use our web app as an additional module or service. We will also release our app for tourists on the play store. After these iterations and learning from the results, we would like to partner with more places and or a company like Trivago which can in turn sell these services to its partners.