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New airport is set to use facial recognition technology for security screening
Published on: 2018-07-26
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050China is set to install facial recognition technology in its newest airport in Beijing which costs 80 billion yuan to build and is expected to open next year.

The Beijing Daxing International Airport, designed by late British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, will have the cutting-edge technology implemented in security and immigration screening, according to reports.

Two Chinese artificial intelligence start-ups have been preparing bids for the contracts and have been testing their facial recognition technology at the current Beijing airport.

051Located about 50 kilometres south of central Beijing, the second airport will relieve congestion at the capital city's existing international airport in the north-east of Beijing.

It is expected to serve an initial 45 million passengers a year with an eventual full capacity of 100 million, putting it on par with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's busiest airfield.

Cameras will be installed in the new airport to facilitate identify verification processes, where a person's image would be matched in a national database.

At the same time, airport authorities will be able to match users to their belongings, so unattended luggage can be easily tracked and located for security risks, the report added.

Similar technologies have recently been put to use in Beijing Capital International Airport's Terminal 2 in April to speed up security checks.

Screen Shot 2015 02 12 at 6.06.05 PMThe identity of a passenger can now be verified via a scan of their boarding pass, ID and face, which would then be verified in an ID database.

The new screening system is able to process 266 passengers per hour, compared with 160 people using the old system, according to the report.

The two Chinese companies competing to provide facial recognition technologies to the airport are SenseTime Group and YiTu. Both are heavily funded technology firms.

Hong Kong and Beijing-based deep learning firm SenseTime is a leader among Chinese AI start-ups that are enjoying fast growth amid demand from the government and private sector for their facial recognition solutions.

The four-year-old company provides applications for facial recognition, video analysis and other areas including autonomous driving. It has a record of major clients, including China's Ministry of Public Security and local heavyweights such as China Mobile, HNA Group and Huawei Technologies.

SenseTime was responsible for upgrading the IT systems of airports in Chengdu and Haikou, as well as at more than 30 train stations across the country. Face-scanning machines can now match passengers' faces to their respective tickets, hence reducing manpower required for the important but mundane task, according to the report.

On the other hand, Shanghai-based Yitu Technology has recently branched into medical diagnosis, using AI to reduce wait times for lab results and speed up diagnosis and treatment of cancer at hospitals.

It has also set up a research and development hub in Singapore - the first outside its home country - as part of plans to export its technology to Southeast Asia and other regions.

052Set to open in 2019, the gigantic Daxing airport is made up of 1.6 million cubic metres of concrete, 52,000 tonnes of steel and spans a total 47 square kilometres, including runways.

The existing airport will continue to operate major international flights, though a third smaller domestic airport in the city's south will close in coming years.

Two of China's three major airlines, China Eastern Airlines Corp and China Southern Airlines Co, will relocate to the airport on completion, accounting for roughly four-fifths of the new airport's total traffic.

China has been increasingly deploying surveillance technology across the country since 2015 - from reinforcing domestic security to monitoring students' behaviour in classrooms.

The cutting-edge network, aims to identify any one of its 1.4 billion citizens within three seconds. Last September, the Chinese government installed over 20 million security cameras across the nation.

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