An Israeli professor is extending computer vision research to develop the next generation of smart cameras, which are aware of their surroundings. He hopes to realize such a method by combining powerful algorithms to recognize and track objects.

Prof. Shai Avidan of Tel Aviv University’s Faculty of Engineering is currently collaborating with researchers from General Motors (GM) Research Israel to keep cars on the road and people out of hospitals.

With just a half second’s notice, a driver can swerve to avoid a fatal accident or slam on the brakes to miss hitting a child running into the road. But first, the driver must perceive the danger.

Research shows that a rapid alert system can help mitigate the risks, fatalities and severe injuries from road accidents, says Avidan, an expert in image processing.

Avidan and his team are working to develop advanced algorithms that will help cameras mounted on GM cars detect threats, alerting drivers to make split-second decisions.

Avidan says the challenge is to develop a system that can recognize people, distinguishing them from other moving objects, and also create a model that can react almost instantaneously.