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Taser Creates AI Unit Filled With Startup Acquisitions

The company wants to apply artificial intelligence to body cameras.

The largest police body camera provider in the U.S. now has a dedicated artificial intelligence unit.

Taser announced Feb. 9 that it has acquired an AI startup, Dextro, along with the computer vision team from Misfit, to make up its new Axon AI effort. Dextro offers video analysis through deep machine learning and was already beginning to work on law enforcement solutions.

That includes learning to recognize not just objects, but sequences of events as well, and then make them searchable. A police department, then, might be able to search its body camera footage for foot chases or weapons being fired.

Taser’s customers have stored 5.2 petabytes of video through the company, according to a press release.

“The addition of artificial intelligence to Axon's upcoming records management system has the potential to automate the collection and analysis of virtually all information in public safety while extracting key insights never before possible,” the statement reads. “The benefits of this groundbreaking technology leads to a future of hands-free reporting and real-time intel in the field.”

All told, Taser will pick up about 20 engineers and researchers through the acquisitions. It didn’t disclose the price of the deals.

Ben Miller is the associate editor of data and business for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.