CES 2020: Startup Creates AI For Better Sports Refereeing

ST37 Sport et Technologie, a small startup within the French Pavilion at CES’s Eureka Park, was demonstrating an AI-driven real-time referee assistant that will, in their words, end subjectivity in sports. The company’s autonomous robotized cameras connect to an AI that interprets the images in real time and sends the results to smartwatches or screens. The system is designed to assist referees in making better calls, provide helpful tools to scouts, and offer coaches and athletes valuable tools for improving performance. The ETC team suggested to ST37 that the data would also be extremely useful for on-air color commentators.

The real-time feed would be useful in their banter. The delivered data plus metadata would also become an invaluable library asset. 

The ST37 representative said that a broadcaster would need 20 cameras to adequately track soccer and rugby, 12 for basketball, 5 for tennis and one for fencing. ST37 sells the cameras, plus they charge a monthly fee for the software license. 

The autonomous camera “digitally plots 15 points to each player’s body so it can instantly referee penalties and on-field calls without bias,” explains Wired. “Each camera tracks the action automatically, without a human operator; linked together, they communicate to watch over an entire playing field.”

“Each camera costs 6,500 euros ($7,280) plus a monthly fee, and there’s no limit to how many players can be watched simultaneously. ST37 is working on adding support for more sports. Without the need for constant video reviews, it might even speed up the agonizing pace of games that have gotten slower over the years.”