Facial recognition tech coming up for some airports

NEC Corporation India bags contract for Varanasi, Vijayawada, Pune and Kolkata airports

NEC Corporation India, a part of the Tokyo-based IT and electronics company, NEC Corporation, has bagged contracts from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to deploy facial recognition-based passenger identification technology in four airports in the country, in Varanasi, Vijayawada, Pune and Kolkata.

Pradeep Kushwaha, head of public safety at NEC Corporation India, told The Hindu, “We have won these projects from the Airport Authority of India. Varanasi airport will be ready for passenger trials of the technology this month, while work has begun in the other thee airports and they are expected to be ready for passenger trials in three months. In Varanasi, trials are already on with airport staff.”

Facial recognition systems use computer algorithms to capture specific details of a person’s face and match it with a similar pre-stored image in the database. When used in airports, the technology can facilitate contactless and quick boarding, bag drop, security checks and lounge access. This paperless and touch-less airport boarding system recognises and tracks a passenger right from arrival, security checks and boarding onward to departure, according to the NEC.

“Our focus is on creating a technology which accurately (99.99%) identifies people and delivers services to them. We are also working with some banks to create finer print supported money transfer systems for bank employees,”’ he added.

According to Mr. Kushwaha, facial recognition technology has matured over the years and it can now find applications across services, including lounge access, immigration, law enforcement, online education and examination, hotel booking and cab services or vendor payments.

It may be recalled that NEC had conducted a PoC (proof of concept) at Hyderabad airport and similar PoCs are currently underway at the Delhi and Kochi airports.

In 2019, Star Alliance had chosen NEC Corporation to set up facial recognition-based identification systems for all its member airlines. Currently, Lufthansa Airlines and Swiss International Airlines are using the technology as a special feature for their frequent flyers from the Munich and Frankfurt airports.

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