City of Tuscaloosa, University of Alabama create blight detection technology
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - The city of Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama developed a technology where cameras placed on garbage trucks use artificial intelligence to detect blight, take pictures of the problem, and send it to people with a simple way to fix it.
“We can take snapshots of time and then we can be more proactive versus reactive and hopefully prevent the cycle of non-compliance that can happen with property maintenance and blight related issues,” explained Brendan Moore with the city of Tuscaloosa.
They chose to put cameras on garbage trucks because they travel throughout the city equally, so one neighborhood or part of town wouldn’t be singled out.
Moore said the program wasn’t designed to be used for code enforcement or to fine people.
“A neighborhood matters to your home value and this seemed like a really nice opportunity to use some of that technology and use it in public policy and try to improve property values,” Dr. Erik Johnson with the University of Alabama explained.
Property owners will be directed a social service agency that could help them if they can’t fix the problem themselves. They said the technology can also more easily track progress in neighborhoods.
“We really started to develop this research, this technology to really improve and help communities and stabilize neighborhoods,” Moore went on to say.
The city and the university are working on a patent for the technology. They are also having some early discussions with other cities interested about using this technology in their communities.
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