Artificial intelligence has reached the Manly beachfront.
Manly Council has installed smart machines capable of recognising over-staying tourist buses and people who wrongly park in disabled-driver spots.
The idea came from the popular facial-analysis app How Old Do I Look, which uses machine learning to guess your age from a photo.
Manly’s Chief Information Officer Nathan Rogers said he realised the technology could be applied to something more useful.
He said the council IT team began by writing a program that downloaded 10,000 images from CCTV of locations like an empty bus bay at different times of day and under different weather conditions. The images were fed into the council’s Microsoft Azure Machine Learning technology, which is in use in several sites, including bus parking zones at Manly Beach and mobility parking bays at the swim centre.
The software can identify anomalies – such as a bus parked in a bay for longer than the permitted time – and alert parking rangers by email.
Mr Rogers said the program, which was already very accurate, has become even more reliable over time, and is now a huge asset to rangers who have gained a “sixth sense” ability to be in the right place at the right time.
He said the system was not about issuing more fines but keeping parking spaces turning over.
Other potential applications include crowd control, and predicting surf conditions.
Manly Council has a large number of smart and connected devices, including four smart parking stations, about 25 smart parking meters, 20 wireless access points and 100 CCTV cameras, all connected by eight kilometres of fibre optic cable.
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.