SAMURAI is a “next generation” CCTV system capable of identifying and tracking individuals “acting suspiciously” in crowded public spaces. The project has received €2.5 million in EU funding under the Fp7 security research programme.

Unlike its ninja namesake, SAMURAI uses computer algorithms to profile people’s behaviour. The system also claims to learn about how people “usually behave” in the environments where “smart CCTV” is deployed. As SAMURAI researchers explained to New Scientist magazine, the system “is designed to issue alerts when it detects behaviour that differs from the norm, and adjusts its reasoning based on feedback. So an operator might reassure the system that the person with a mop appearing to loiter in a busy thoroughfare is no threat. When another person with a mop exhibits similar behaviour, it will remember that this is not a situation that needs flagging up”.

Here’s the demonstration video:

The project is led by Queen Mary’s University in London. Partners in the EU-funded SAMURAI consortium include BAA, the Spanish-owned British airports group, UK Defence contractor Waterfall Solutions Ltd., and Elsag Datamat, the surveillance-tech subsidiary of Italian arms giant Finmeccanica.

For more information see: SAMURAI project website and “Smart CCTV learns to spot suspicious types” (New Scientist, 15.12.2009).