”Background Subtraction, Feature Extraction”
Patriot One Technologies, based in Ontario, Canada, is using the Security and Counter Terror Expo (SCTX) 2018 in London this week to highlight the capabilities of its cognitive microwave radar solution for access control and security applications.
Based on work initially conducted at Canada’s most research-intensive educational establishment, McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, the Patriot One solution brings workable artificial intelligence to the issue of recognising and categorising a range of concealed weapons and similar artefacts, according to the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Martin Cronin.
The original laboratory application has been “shrunk to a commercial package,” Cronin told MONS. Algorithms have been refined and machine learning techniques applied to an iterative identification process that means six separate weapon types can now be identified to an accuracy level of 94%, he stated. Certification for the system has already been achieved in Canada and the United States, with the relevant process already underway in the UK, according to Cronin.
Working on the fundamental principles of background subtraction (teaching the AI what NOT to identify as a threat) and feature extraction (teaching it what constitutes a threat and the pertinent features that contribute to such an identification), the teaching process now underway is a six month undertaking, according to Cronin. Seven years work in algorithm development, partially funded by the Canadian government and NATO, have provided a basic framework on which further development of the capability can be founded.
Since the AI’s ‘level of learning’ can be replicated in other machines on a distributed network and can be further developed with appropriately controlled feedback, there are two levels of learning, Cronin told MONS. “Central learning differs from local learning in that it needs to be much more tightly controlled and secure. What we don’t want is some malign actor trying to corrupt the central threat and non-threat libraries by teaching it, for example, NOT to recognise an AK-47 as a threat.”
That is one of the factors that has influenced development of the company’s very carefully constructed business model, Essentially Patriot One Technologies seeks to sell software subscriptions and to update and upgrade capabilities for operators and end users, rather than providing the hardware. The systems is therefore, to a significant degree, hardware agnostic – though the system on display at SCTX featured some proprietary components, notably the microwave antennas. “But we really don’t see ourselves being in the hardware business,” Cronin told MONS.