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AI facial recognition for base access control among finalists of U.S. Air Force “Innovation Rodeo”


An artificial intelligence facial recognition system is one of eight finalists of the innovation competition launched by the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center (AFIMSC) Innovation Office in partnership with the Air Force’s new innovation hub, AFWERX, according to an article on the official Air Force website.

The competition was launched in January, and 122 submissions received more than 2,000 online votes to select the finalists to participate in the inaugural AFIMSC “Innovation Rodeo,” which was recently held in San Antonio.

The facial recognition system is proposed for access control at Air Force bases, where the number of “gate runners” has increased, with more than 25,000 attempted unauthorized entries in the first quarter of 2018, according to the San Antonio Business Journal. Cameras at each base gate would track the numbers of vehicles and passengers, and use facial recognition to identify authorized military personnel, and perform checks against criminal databases.

“We could increase security and decrease that inconvenience. That’s a paradigm shift,” Lt. Col. Carlos Hernandez, who leads the team proposing the facial recognition system, told the Business Journal. The idea was presented by Lt. Col. Jesse Goens of Aviano Air Base in Italy, where the idea of leveraging the facial recognition technology used in border control processes resonated.

The other seven ideas making it to the rodeo include a system for leveraging an existing geospatial system with AI for inspecting facility roofs, a system for self-adjusting wide area detection with ground and aerial drones, and several mobile apps.

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