says it is working to open source its new “Distance Assistant” technology, which helps people maintain six feet of distance from others. The technology was developed as Amazon engineers developed new processes and workstations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Distance Assistant uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and cameras to alert people on a 50-inch monitor when they are fewer than six feet away from others. The device only needs an electrical outlet to be deployed. Amazon says it has installed Distance Assistance in “a handful” of its own buildings, and will be adding hundreds over the coming weeks. “We are also beginning the process to open source the software and AI behind this innovation so that anyone can create their own Distance Assistant,” wrote Brad Porter, a vice president and Amazon engineer, in a blog post on the company website. Amazon stock is up 1.6% in Tuesday premarket trading, and has rallied 39.2% for the year to date. The S&P 500 index
is down 5.1% for 2020 so far.