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EU’s largest public transport security project with Herta biometrics nears final stage

EU’s largest public transport security project with Herta biometrics nears final stage

Europe has a plan to prevent terrorist attacks on public transportation with video analytics algorithms, possibly but not necessarily including facial recognition. The project named PREVENT PCP is soon entering its final stage.

The European Union-funded plan is tasked with increasing security in train and subway stations as well as surrounding public areas. It includes identification and tracking of perpetrators and unattended items and an advanced crisis management system. A total of 34 bidders participated in the PREVENT PCP tender competition with eight advancing to phase one and only four participating in phase two. The third and final stage begins on December 6.

Among the phase two participants is Spanish company Herta, which is leading a consortium together with a Belgian company, ACIC, and the French company ChapsVision.

“Our consortium’s proposal implements the latest in video surveillance assisted by artificial intelligence,” the company said in an announcement. “The environment to be monitored is one of the most challenging spaces that can be contemplated, with multiple entrances and exits, and massive arrival of passengers every few minutes.”

Herta is known for its crowd-monitoring system with real-time face biometrics developed during COVID-19. In the newest project, the company plans to detect security threats such as criminals and terrorists wanted by state authorities, unusual behaviors and abandoned items.

The tender document specifies that technology is sought to track individuals through a CCTV network “with and without using biometric data.” Assessing the necessity of biometrics to achieve the desired tracking goals is part of the purpose of the project’s testing phase.

PREVENT PCP is the largest public transport security project on the continent. Tests are planned across eight European countries with a total of 24 organizations participating, including public transport operators, security forces and other public buyers.

During the second phase, the consortium led by Herta participated in prototype development. The third stage is the operational validation phase in which solutions will be tested and validated in real environments. Phase three testing is expected to take place in France, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

France has already begun tests with the help of its state-owned railway company SNCF. Last week, PREVENT PCP held a meeting in Paris to demonstrate prototypes designed to detect unattended items in public transport stations developed by the four contractors. The solutions are currently installed and tested by SNCF at the Paris Gare du Nord station where 50 cameras are deployed.

The project, backed by the EU’s Horizon 2020 funding program, launched in 2021 and is expected to be completed by the end of August 2024.

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