The Second Face

A new IAV solution masks filmed persons while retaining relevant information

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is having an effect in a most unexpected area: autonomous driving. In future, anyone using videos taken from real-world traffic situations for algorithm training will have to comply with special data protection requirements. IAV has therefore developed the IAV Maskin tool to mask data without any loss of information.

The algorithms for autonomous driving need to be trained. The best learning material comes from video clips filmed in real road traffic situations. Real-world scenes let the software learn to recognize pedestrians or other critical situations. Anyone using such clips has to respect the personal rights of the road users featured in the film.

Besides restricting access rights and storage periods, one way of protecting the personal rights of road users featured in films is to mask camera data. Common methods consist in pixelating the faces or using black boxes so that the persons cannot be recognized. However, such clips are practically useless for training algorithms. ”The data then no longer contain important information such as the facial expression and the line of sight“, explains Dr. Mirko Knaak, Product Owner for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at IAV.

IAV is now taking a new approach to ensure it can continue working with video clips. IAV Maskin is the solution that takes personal rights into consideration while also guaranteeing that the images can still be fully analyzed. The system breaks down into several steps. Firstly, it uses artificial intelligence to recognize important facial features in the original data, such as expression and line of vision. It then replaces the originally filmed faces with synthetic equivalents that have the same features. The relevant information is preserved for the algorithms, but it is no longer possible to recognize the filmed persons.

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