Drones with facial recognition are closer to becoming a reality thanks to a patent from an Israeli company

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A constant in works of dystopia and science fiction is that of an oppressive future in which drones will be able to identify citizens in search and seizure.

And that fictional idea is one step closer to becoming a reality, according to a patent from AnyVision, an Israeli company based in Tel Aviv.

Amazon is installing artificially intelligent cameras to monitor its delivery drivers “100% of the time.”

As detailed by Forbes AnyVision has filed a patent that will help unmanned flying devices get the best angle to obtain high-quality, full-face images of citizens who need to be identified. Although it is not the definitive integration of facial recognition in this type of device, it is an important step in the same direction.

The CEO of AnyVision, the firm at the center of this story, has cautioned that AnyVision is not yet producing any drones with integrated facial recognition capabilities. Avi Golan, however, has explained in Forbes that he is very happy to already have a patent in that regard.

AnyVision is an Israeli startup that was backed by Microsoft in its early days. However, the Seattle-based multinational stopped working with it after the controversy over the use of its facial recognition cameras in the Gaza Strip. It is also the Israeli company that hired Mercadona to install facial recognition cameras. The Spanish Data Protection Agency has until next July to rule on this installation.

Mercadona’s facial recognition is “difficult to justify”, according to the European Data Protection Supervisor.

While this patent paves the way for technological development to integrate facial recognition solutions in surveillance drones, law enforcement agencies around the world continue to debate whether or not it is appropriate to have these tools, according to Forbes. Although research has been conducted in the public sector – with advanced work being done by US military units, for example – it seems that the private sector has taken the lead.

In fact, AnyVision itself partnered with another defense firm also based in Israel, called Rafael, for a joint venture called SightX. Demonstrations of SightX’s technology consisted of small surveillance drones that at the moment did not have the capability to use facial recognition, a utility that would be installed later.

Although the technology exists, Golan, CEO of AnyVision, hopes that the use of this technology will become more accepted by society. “I think it’s a futuristic technology, but I want to have it in my pocket until it becomes more accepted by humanity.” At the moment the firm is not working with U.S. law enforcement, he recalls.

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