Amber Alerts play a vital role in child safety within the US. Launched in 1996 in honor of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was snatched and murdered in Texas, the alerts send out emergency messages to law enforcement, broadcasters and civilians with details of child abduction. The more people that see information about the child in question, their last known location or the vehicle they're suspected to be traveling in, the greater the likelihood of getting them home safe and sound. And today, the program is expanding to utilize AI and vehicle recognition technology.
According to Rekor, the company that will use its vehicle recognition technology to act as a secondary distribution channel for the alerts, in 2017 and 2018 more than a quarter of cases where a child was rescued from an abduction were resolved because someone recognised the vehicle in the alert. Its technology will automate the process, using AI in camera systems to identify vehicle make, model and color, sending details of potential matches directly to law enforcement. The software is easily installed and works with any existing device, meaning organizations won't have to purchase new hardware to use it.
Amber Alerts will continue to go out to existing resources, such as radio, TV, road signs and cell phones, but it's hoped that this extra layer of vigilance will give law enforcement additional assistance in bringer kids home even more quickly. To expand the reach of its tech, Rekor will offer free licenses for its software to law enforcement and other agencies working in child abduction, as well as those responsible for finding vehicles associated with other crimes.