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Cruise line patent suggests face biometrics for stateroom access, personalization

Royal Caribbean executives, Tascent CEO named inventors
Cruise line patent suggests face biometrics for stateroom access, personalization

Face biometrics-based door unlocking may be coming to cruise ship bedrooms aboard Royal Caribbean ships, based on a patent application published on November 9th by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The “multifunction smart door device” that can be opened via facial recognition and controlled with users’ mobile devices is described, with features like controlling stateroom personalization features, providing an electronic peephole function, allowing controlled access for authorized crew members, accommodating remote unlocking, and providing notifications. The patent’s authors include a Royal Caribbean executive, and Tascent Co-founder and CEO Alastair Partington. Tascent has been working with Royal Caribbean since 2018 on an end-to-end face biometrics solution.

Currently passengers are issued with a SeaPass card at the beginning of the trip to open cabin doors, and Royal Caribbean thinks this device could be utilized for service, safety, or security purposes. Other security measures have been the recent integration of BriefCam video analytics with facial recognition into the cruise line’s existing security systems for easy contract tracing of passengers related to the pandemic.

A facial recognition algorithm would be run, via a wide-angle camera as someone presents at the door and even the provision for the facial recognition sensor to transmit a live stream to a guest’s mobile device, similar to how some smart locks for houses function, according to the patent. Crew members would still have access regardless.

In October Smart Engines entered a new partnership with Royal Caribbean to streamline the guest boarding experience with AI-powered document scanning.

“There are use cases where a wearable on your arm or a lanyard, et cetera, might be relevant, but your face is a better wearable for you long term than having to distribute something to you,” says one of the patent’s authors, Jay Schneider, in a company blog post.

It is not yet clear when the facial recognition capability could be implemented on Royal Caribbean vessels.

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