New South Wales plans major biometrics integration with transport system

The Government of New South Wales, Australia, is planning to make biometrics a central part of its future transport plans, with public transit riders being scanned by facial recognition systems for automatic payments, ZDNet reports.

The state’s Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance told an audience at the Sydney Institute that big data, mobility-as-a-service, and other digital technologies are being explored in a number of new initiatives. Transport for NSW offers public access to transit data to enable the private sector to offer innovative solutions, and Constance noted the real-time cross-transit data service anytrip.com.au as an example of how digital initiatives can improve public service.

Biometrics will be part of the payment and access plan, and Constance says customers have already embraced the use of credit cards and mobile devices to tap on and off transit vehicles.

“Similar to Amazon’s walk out technology in shops where customers scan their phones at the door, grab the items they want, and walk right out and their account is automatically charged,” Constance says. “In the transport space we use facial recognition technology to scan customers who have opted in and linked their Opal account, so no more gate barriers just a smooth journey.”

Eventually, biometrics deployed in the transport sector can be extended to new applications.

“Advance analytics, facial recognition, and sensor technology will help determine customer satisfaction levels,” Constance added. “Digital identity verifications will eventually be integrated with biometric recognition, the ability to read someone’s face, retina, breath, voice to enable the next level of authorisation and access — it really does boggle the mind in a true contactless payment way. Entry into buildings, onto planes, at banks, hotels all changes — transport’s at the heart.”

NSW is planning to launch driverless vehicle trials and digital driver’s licenses on smartphones soon, as the network of “connected things” proliferates. The state government also uses Amazon’s machine learning technology to predict how the system will operate during the day.

Australia’s federal government was recently criticized by a parliamentary inquiry for trying to upgrade its biometric capabilities without properly assessing the situation.

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