Georgia completes trial of face biometric payments for subway system ahead of Japan

Georgia completes trial of face biometric payments for subway system ahead of Japan

Georgia has successfully completed testing of biometric facial recognition from Riddletag in the Tbilisi subway system, becoming the fourth country in the world to use the technology in its public transport system, according to a company announcement.

The system was unveiled during the recent Visa Innovation Forum, and provides the option of purchasing a ticket and passing through the turnstile in less than a second with facial biometrics through a partnership with the private Bank of Georgia, which provides financial services to the transit system. Passengers can download the bank’s free app and register their facial biometrics within a minute.

They can then use the technology with image pre-processing developed by Riddletag to detect faces within 50 milliseconds, and scan the passenger’s face with a 3D camera.

“Riddletag face recognition will allow to speed up passengers moving through the barriers to getting to platforms, as well as prevent fraud,” states Riddletag CEO Yurii Holuzynets. “Using our product user can open the turnstile and make a payment in 0.7 seconds instead of the usual 4-5 seconds. Our solution easily and quickly integrates into industrial systems in banks, retail or public transport facilities. We’re sure that AI and face biometrics is a future of every business which care about customers and their time. We’re happy to cooperate with such a client-oriented and innovative partner like Bank of Georgia.”

Subway systems in China, Russia, and Korea have previously implemented facial recognition systems for public transportation.

Asus associate company Aaeon developed the hardware for the deployment, which runs the artificial intelligence capabilities at the edge.

“Time and safety of our are our clients are the main priorities of Bank of Georgia,” says Archil Gachechiladze, Bank of Georgia CEO. “Therefore the implementation of Riddletag’s face recognition in Tbilisi metro is a great idea as it’s a time saving, secure and innovative solution. We’re pleased that Visa also supported this project. We believe that face biometrics is a future of fintech and we love the idea of being pioneers.”

The deployment is expected to go live at one station with the new year, and the Bank of Georgia plans to expand facial recognition payments to 30 more stations in the near future.

Japan is the next country to launch facial biometric payments for its public transit system, with Osaka Metro Co. beginning a trial with roughly 1,200 employees ahead of plans to deploy biometric gates to all train stations it operates by 2024, the Japan Times reports.

The 2025 World Expo will be held in Osaka, and the authority wants the system to be live by then.

An unusual feature of the trial is the testing of facial recognition gates at four stations, each one from different technology providers; Omron Social Solutions Co., Takamisawa Cybernetics Co., Toshiba Infrastructure Systems & Solutions Corp. and Nippon Signal Co.

“Elderly people and people with a stroller, for example, will be able to go through the gate without having to put anything down,” a representative of the Osaka Metro said, according to the Japan Times. “We want to improve the station environment by introducing new technologies.”

This post was updated at 9:59 pm ET December 19, 2019 to remove an erroneous reference to Georgian membership in the EU.

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