October 2, 2023

An AI-powered lifeguard developed in Israel is being used for the first time to save lives off beaches in the United Arab Emirates.

SightBit analyzes a live video feed from existing waterfront cameras and raises the alarm if it detects patterns of behavior associated with drowning.

The technology has already been deployed at Tel Aviv and Ashdod in Israel, and at beaches in Brazil, Canada and the United States.

It will now also be used in the UAE in a deal with Blueguard, a water safety and first aid company based in Dubai, as part of its “blended lifeguarding” – in which technology complements traditional lifeguarding techniques.

SightBit’s software uses deep learning, computer vision and risk-assessment algorithms to identify swimmers in distress, unattended children, rip-currents, inshore holes and vortexes.

It operates continuously, monitoring every person or object that enters the water, and tracking their movements. It can also activate automatic speakers and spotlights, and send drones with lifebelts to bathers who are in immediate danger.

And it is trained to detect pollution in open water, and predict where it will spread.

SightBit utilizes existing surveillance TV cameras so there is no need to install new equipment. Each one can scan 300 meters of shoreline.

The company, based in Beersheva – far away from the sea – says the system is revolutionizing ocean rescue. Among its success stories are incidents when it identified a father and son caught in a riptide on the Tel Aviv coast.

“SightBit’s mission is to help save lives, everywhere,” said Adam Bismut, the company’s CEO. “We are thrilled for the opportunity we have to bring our revolutionary technology to the UAE and protect the lives of the wonderful people who live there.

Bismut founded SightBit in 2018 after witnessing a near-fatal drowning incident. He was concerned to see that lifeguards relied on scanning the shoreline with binoculars and resolved to use his understanding of advanced image processing technologies to address the situation.

“Considering SightBit’s innovative, cutting-edge technology, reliability, and cost-effectiveness, Blueguard identified that such a collaboration will benefit both companies and most importantly, all citizens and tourists in the Gulf region.”

Blueguard Managing Director Luke Cunningham said: “Our commitment to water safety, coupled with SightBit’s cutting-edge technology, will transform beach management and safety in the UAE. We foresee this benefitting a wide range of stakeholders, including governments, hotels, beach operators and really anyone managing access or activities in open water.”

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