Facial Recognition Ticketing at Subway Station in China

Photo Credit: Sam Tsang
  • A subway station in Shenzhen, China is testing out facial recognition ticketing which allows riders to “pay with their face”
  • The system utilizes 5g network technology which enhances speed and efficiency.
  • The technology was created in partnership with Huawei Technologies who provided the AI algorithms.

If you happen to be taking the subway in Shenzhen, China, you may soon be able to pay without taking out your wallet or smartphone. Futian station is testing a ticketing system that allows riders to pay with their faces.

It sounds pretty simple. When a rider reaches the entrance gate, they simply scan there face using a tablet-sized screen at the entrance gate. AI algorithms quickly analyze the face and the fare gets automatically deducted from a linked account.

Facial Recognition Ticketing Uses a 5g Network

The technology utilizes a 5g network which greatly enhances connection speed and efficiency. The Shenzhen metro claims that this type of tech could help the facial-recognition ticketing system handle 5 million rides a day in the city.

“To use facial ticketing in the future, passengers will also need preregistration of their facial information and link their payment methods to their accounts, ” said a staff member at Futian station.

Facial Recognition Ticketing Shenzhen China - YellRobot

Rider Information Including Age and Gender Displayed on Big Screen

Riders going through the testing area will see their surveillance photos, age, gender, and duration of stay displayed on a big screen. If customers are not comfortable with all of their information being displayed, they can use one of the conventional entrances.

The facial recognition technology was created by an innovation lab backed by the Shenzhen Metro and Huawei Technologies. Huawei contributed AI algorithms via its public cloud. The Shenzhen Metro has not yet released test results or when the facial recognition ticketing system will be introduced at other subway stations.

Facial Recognition Ticketing Shenzhen China - YellRobot

Privacy and Logistical Concerns with Face Recognition Tech

We’ve reached out to both the Shenzhen Metro and Huawei for some more information. While the tech sounds impressive, along with privacy concerns, it also raises a lot of logistical questions. Do faces need to be scanned at a certain angle to be properly recognized? If a few people have issues scanning their faces, we imagine this would create a massive bottleneck during rush hour. Would customers use their smartphones as a backup?

Do we really want all of our information displayed on a screen? For crowded cities like Shenzhen, technology like this needs to work seamlessly as any hiccup could cause a whole range of issues.

Source: South China Morning Post

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