Friday, December 03, 2021

Facial recognition technology could change the face of Indian airports

With the Airports Authority of India (AAI) working on a facial recognition technology-based biometric boarding system as part of the first phase of Digi Yatra Implementation at four airports, including Varanasi, Pune, Kolkata, and Vijayawada, FRT will make inroads into the Indian airports for the first time.

Initially, it will be on a pilot stage but FRT has the potential to change the face of the Indian airports. Experts say the technology can reduce the number of touchpoints and strengthen both security and medical precautionary measures at airports. At the same time, brings its own set of challenges. 

“Facial recognition technology at airports is a very good use case across both security and health testing use cases. ID authentication and authorisation through Aadhar Card coupled with Computer Vision APIs for facial recognition will accelerate the airport security process. With the help of FRT at airports, more passenger data can be collected and analysed for better governance, risk and compliance. Additionally, healthcare testing use cases will further provide for a completely digital, seamless and contactless passenger journey and will usher in automated and autonomic processes for airport security, facility and airlines staff resulting in lower costs and improved risk management," Sudin Baraokar, global IT an Innovation Advisor told THE WEEK. 

Facial recognition software reads the geometry of one's face. 

Key factors include the distance between one's eyes and the distance from the forehead to the chin. The software identifies facial landmarks; one system identifies 68 of them that are key to distinguishing one's face. The result is one's facial signature. A person's facial signature is a mathematical formula and is compared to a database of known faces. 

Facial recognition will also help in streamlining security and other systems at the airport and will go a long way in making airports operations smooth. 

“Once seen as the symbol of progression in future civilisations, especially in sci-fi staples such as Star Trek or 2001: Space Odyssey, facial recognition has expeditiously become a crucial component of our day-to-day life. I firmly believe that facial recognition brings a myriad of different benefits for travellers, airports, and airlines alike. Three of the most significant benefits are seen in the areas of enhanced security, speed, and ease of travel. moreover, as travellers return to the skies in more regular numbers as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, facial recognition will become a significant instrument that can be deployed to minimize person-to-person contact and the health risks associated with the virus but at the same time, liability originating from the use of this technology is also rapidly expanding as cities, states,  look to impose strict provisions and prohibitions on the use of facial biometrics as it can give rise to deployment and risk of safety of the travellers,” says Balakrishna BS, Director CMO, ABS Fujitsu General Private Limited. 

03/12/21 Abhinav Singh/The Week

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