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Netgear security cameras could soon tell a person from a car

Netgear finalized the purchase of computer vision analytics company Placemeter so its Arlo security cameras can learn to tell cars, people and other objects apart.

Netgear's expansive DIY security lineup now includes the Arlo Q, Arlo Q Plus, Arlo, Arlo Go, and Arlo Pro cameras (pictured).

Joshua Goldman/CNET

Netgear today finalized the acquisition of Placemeter, a tech company specializing in computer vision analytics. Previously focused on delivering video solutions to homes, companies and cities, Placemeter will now work directly with Netgear to inject its video algorithm tech into Arlo security cameras.

Netgear launched its home-security lineup in 2014 with the indoor-outdoor Arlo camera, and it has since expanded to include the Arlo Q, Arlo Q Plus, Arlo Go and Arlo Pro cameras.

Placemeter says its goal "has always been to add value to any video feed." For Netgear and its growing brand of DIY security cameras, that should mean distinguishing between motion and background scenery in video feeds. The technology should also able to identify motion as people walking or bicycles, motorcycles, cars or larger vehicles passing.

While advanced motion detection capabilities are a fairly recent addition to the DIY home security market, select brands have already introduced these features to their products. Nest's cameras offer a "people detection" feature that consistently distinguished between a person and other types of motion during testing. Note: This Nest feature only works if you subscribe to the fee-based Nest Aware cloud service.

The Netatmo Presence successfully identified motion from cars, people or animals most of the time. And the ArcSoft Simplicam and Netatmo Welcome both offer face recognition technology, although both were somewhat hit-or-miss when we reviewed them in 2015.

Netgear may be slightly behind the curve, but its acquisition of Placemeter should help its Arlo cameras stay competitive and possibly even improve on this developing tech category. Netgear didn't specify when this tech would officially launch, but we'll be sure to test it out when it does.

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