Facial recognition system trialed for subway fare payment on Shenzhen Metro

Chinese subway operator Shenzhen Metro is piloting a facial recognition system, powered by a 5G network, for ticket payments that has commuters scanning their faces on a tablet-sized screen mounted on the entrance gate to have the fare automatically deducted from their linked accounts, South China Morning Post reports. The technology was designed by Shenzhen Metro and Huawei.

It is expected that the biometric ticketing service could help improve the future efficiency of the city’s subway network, which sees up to five million rides per day.

“To use facial ticketing in the future, passengers will also need preregistration of their facial information and link their payment methods to their accounts, just like them making payments at the KFC restaurant,” explained a staff member at the Futian station’s demonstration area in Shenzhen. Last November Yum China extended its “Smile-to-Pay” facial recognition payment system to more than 300 KFC locations across the country.

According to the China Internet Network Information Center, 583 million people used their smartphones to make payments in China last year and 68 per cent of China’s internet users used a mobile wallet for their offline payments.

Biometric technology is also being used to improve efficiency of the Beijing subway system and the Shanghai subway system.

To address growing privacy concerns regarding public deployments of AI and facial recognition, China has established an AI ethics committee, lead by artificial intelligence researcher Chen Xiaoping, to develop guidelines to address potential risks associated with large-scale applications of the technology.

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