A little more than two years ago, Motorola Solutions acquired WatchGuard Video—one of the world’s leading developers of law enforcement in-car video systems and body cameras. Shortly after Motorola Solutions acquired WatchGuard, development began on their new M500 in-vehicle video system. So it’s no surprise that the M500 incorporates a mixture of WatchGuard and Motorola Solutions’ technology, producing a next-generation dash camera.
The M500 offers a number of innovative features. Andres Lacambra, Motorola Solutions’ senior director, Mobile Video, says the goal from the beginning of the M500’s development was to “find ways to add more value” for law enforcement agencies into the system.
One of the “more value” features of the M500 is that its capabilities are enhanced by artificial intelligence. The AI enhanced capabilities are designed to support officers with actionable information that complements the human decision-making process, to ensure that the system reliably captures the evidence despite human error, and to ensure that the videos are better organized in the evidence management software for better analysis.
The M500’s front-facing 4K camera delivers 1080p video in panoramic or focused views. A cabin camera points at the back seat and also delivers 1080p resolution and features built-in infrared illumination.
That backseat facing camera is one of the capabilities of the M500 that is enhanced by AI. With most police in-vehicle video systems, the officer needs to turn on the cabin camera, which can lead to lost evidence. The AI ensures that the cabin camera is running when someone is in the back seat.
“The AI is not just looking for motion,” Lacambra says. “We wanted to make sure that something like a uniform hanging in the back seat would not trigger a recording. So instead of looking for motion, the AI looks for shapes. If it recognizes that shape as a person, it turns on the recording to make sure it is part of the record. That recording can be critical in some investigations. The cabin camera can capture conversations between individuals in the back seat or evidence that provides transparency and clarity around whether a complaint against an officer is true or false.
Another innovative capability of the M500 is its license plate recognition feature. The system can automatically read license plates and compare them to a “hit list.” It’s not designed to replace purpose-built ALPR systems, but Lacambra says the M500’s LPR feature can help officers stay safer during traffic stops. “If the license plate of the vehicle they are stopping turns out to be associated with a vehicle of interest, the way they may approach that vehicle is different if they know that information ahead of time,” he explains.
Recordings captured by the M500 system are organized by AI by leveraging metadata. “It makes videos easier to find and apply to the appropriate investigations,” Lacambra says.
Motorola Solutions’ CommandCentral Evidence software provides the evidence management for the M500. Using the software, agencies can aggregate and organize M500 and V300 body camera video, produce automated transcriptions of the audio, redact the video, and share it with authorized users such as prosecutors.
For playback CommandCentral Evidence allows officers to watch synced video captured by multiple devices at the same incident. As many as four different video feeds can be viewed simultaneously. “As you move the timeline, all four videos and all video sources move in sync so you can watch the same scene at the same time from different angles,” Lacambra says.
The Motorola Solutions M500 in-vehicle video system is expected to be available in early 2022. Learn more here.