Object detection is one of the promising areas where computer vision technologies can be applied, including object recognition in static photographs, videos, or real-time scenarios.

In particular, object detection is a key technology needed to realize the concept of autonomous cars and to assist vehicles in navigating our visual world.

This article will describe practical ways to apply object detection technology in various fields. It will help you comprehend how the technology works and how you can use it in your business.

What is Object Detection and How does it Work?

We can provide a relatively straightforward definition in this regard:

Object detection is a computer vision technique that allows you to recognize objects in various environments to further classify and analyze them.

Due to machine learning and artificial intelligence development, the technology has significantly increased its potential application.

The object detection system operates in several stages:

  1. The algorithm analyzes input data obtained in various ways (images, videos, real-time photography, and video capturing).
  2. An object is localized by assigning a class label to it, which is displayed as a bounding box.
  3. Based on the previous stage, the algorithm recognizes an object and its position, displaying the location, size, and class label for each object in the image.

You can check an example of how it works in a real-case scenario by watching this video, which we have shot specifically for our YouTube channel:

Object detection is often identified with image recognition. However, these technologies differ in several significant features.

Image recognition presumes only object identification without determining their exact position or location. Object detection, however, is already a more sophisticated task, and the image provided below exemplifies that well:

What are the differences between object detection and image recognition
Difference between object detection and image recognition, image credit: AIMultiple Research

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Real-world Applications of Object Detection in Various Industries

Software systems utilizing object detection technology can be a valuable and efficient tool for solving diverse tasks. Read about examples of how companies operating in various industries currently use them in real-case scenarios.

Self-Driving Vehicles

Object detection is a fundamental technology underlying the concept of autonomous transport. Precise object recognition (pedestrians, obstacles, and other vehicles) is a prerequisite for self-driving vehicles to move safely on public roads.

Object detectors, used in autonomous vehicles, pinpoint vehicle location in the environment, account for the surrounding context, and track other objects to plan further routes.

Biometric and facial recognition

Security checks at airports or customs points, biometric access control, and tracking specific objects by police officers and detectives — these and many more similar use cases show how automated object detection systems can speed up result generation and reduce manual work.

Safety Control

In production environments, logistics, and construction, object or people detection technology can become a crucial factor, primarily in the context of potential security threat identification. Systems tracking and detecting objects in real-time control hazardous areas, improve compliance with safety protocols and reduce threats to personnel.

Pedestrian detection safety control system
Pedestrian Detection Camera, image credit: FTC Safety Solutions Limited

Crowd Counting and Traffic Monitoring

Object detection can find its use in solving such tasks as:

  • People automatic counting in public areas;
  • Vehicle monitoring on specific routes and streets;
  • Pedestrian traffic inside and outside stores or malls.

Those interested can use the information obtained for further processing by a person and for making various automated decisions based on algorithms embedded in the system.

Crowd detection monitoring in the city
Crowd Detection Systems, image: icorpsecurity.com.au

Inventory and warehousing

Object detection can serve well in logistics, warehousing, and retail to track, control, and optimize the stock management process. Autonomous robots and cheaper manual devices are currently available for this purpose.

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Video Surveillance Solutions

Video surveillance systems use object detection technology to identify any abnormal activity, after which they activate automatic alerts if necessary.

It is an efficient tool to provide security monitoring for financial institutions, retail establishments, and warehouses. Security services and law enforcement agencies also use similar solutions.

Enhancing Quality Control

Manufacturing companies use object detection technology to find defects in their products or raw materials, and by doing so, they achieve a high-automated quality assurance process.

Neural networks can quickly detect even minute defects, thus completely transforming the previously entirely manual process requiring huge human resources.

Computer vision based product quality inspection
Computer vision application for quality inspection

Medical Image Analysis

According to IBM, images constitute about 90% of all medical data. Machine learning technologies capable of analyzing images to identify abnormalities and observable objects pose tremendous potential as a tool for doctors.

When properly utilized, such software solutions significantly speed up data processing and allow healthcare specialists to detect patterns that would be extremely difficult to observe even for the most experienced professionals.

Object detection application in Healthcare

Visual Product Search

Visual search technology allows potential buyers to scan a product in the real world and quickly find it on sale in an online store. This way, buyers feel a seamless customer experience and blur the boundaries between offline and online shopping.

The app’s operational mechanism is simple: the neural network processes images and compares their features with the products (or images) available in the database. After that, it displays relevant results based on the similarity assessment.

How visual product search technology works

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SKUs Management in Retail

By combining AI, machine learning, and object detection technologies, retailers obtain software solutions that monitor product availability on the shop shelves, identify discrepancies between planograms and the actual shelves’ appearance, or organize contactless service at checkouts.

Retail outlets can also apply the technology to count people entering their premises, track where they head, and monitor what products they interact with. This approach allows retail owners to understand customer behavior better.

Crop Monitoring and Pest Detection

Many agricultural companies are now actively implementing digital solutions armed with object detection technology. First of all, such tools are helpful for plant health monitoring, pest control, crop maintenance, and yield estimation.

AI & computer vision enabled crop monitoring

Harness the Power of Object Detection Technology for Your Business

Object detection is one of the key technologies in computer vision. It enables machines to identify and pinpoint the location of objects in images or video. This capability makes the technology a powerful tool for companies looking to integrate innovative solutions to optimize and automate their business processes.

This article has shown you some possibilities for practical applications of object recognition in various fields. If you are interested in implementing this technology in your business, contact us to discuss the details!

Yuriy Nayda
Yuriy Nayda CTO, Managing Partner at SmartTek Solutions