Osaka Metro tests hands-free contactless payments for wheelchair users

BIOMETRIC TRIAL: The facial recognition camera is set at wheelchair height on the accessible ticket gate

Passengers who use a wheelchair travelling on services operated by Osaka Metro in Japan are the first to trial a biometric contactless fare payment system that enables them to pay by passing through a wheelchair-accessible ticket gate equipped with face recognition technology.

Osaka Metro is trialling the face recognition gate at Nagai Station on the city’s Midosuji Line in order to “verify the accuracy of face recognition at the height of the face of a person using a wheelchair” following initial pilot tests with metro employees.

“The camera for face recognition is always in operation, but it is not recording” and will only activate face recognition scanning when it detects a passenger who has previously uploaded their biometric data for the trial, Osaka Metro explains.

“When the face of the target person using the face recognition ticket gate is detected and recognised, it is converted into feature point data for verification with the authentication server,” the transit provider adds.

“The image taken by the face authentication camera and the feature point data generated from the facial image will be discarded after verification.”

The trial for wheelchair users is due to run until February 2023 but testing by employees will continue while Osaka Metro “extracts issues for practical use and acquires basic data for examination” with a view to introducing biometric ticket gates “at all stations by the end of 2024”.

Osaka Metro began testing facial recognition gates on the city’s subway in December 2019.

Osaka Metro tests hands-free contactless payments for wheelchair users was written by Tom Phillips and published by NFCW.