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New Cognitec facial recognition technology advances e-Gate border control

Biometric facial recognition technology in use at 100 e-Gates in German airports is cutting transaction times for each passenger to less than 20 seconds, according to Dr. Jörg Helbig, director of product management for Cognitec Systems ­– and the use is expected to spread to more locations around the globe.

Helbig demonstrated to GSN how the FaceVACS-Entry technology reads travelers’ e-Passports, compares the image stored in the passport chip to the person’s live image and, if the two match, opens the e-Gate door to allow access. During the process, a special sensor detects masks or other 3-D anomalies.

But before making a comparison, Helbig notes, the camera and sensors need to find a person’s face. FaceVACS-Entry adjusts the camera position according to the person’s height, then captures the high-quality image that provides high verification accuracy. The Cognitec software immediately verifies the live image against biometric photos stored in passports, other types of documents or in facial image databases.

While the facial comparison work previously completed by humans will be largely shouldered by this new technology, the human workforce will not totally disappear – but it will be greatly reduced when working alongside this system, Helbig said. Security personnel will staff four to six tracks, tending to instances when the door does not automatically open, handling what Helbig called “nonsuccess” passengers.

These are passengers whose images might have some discrepancies from the passport images – or they might be passengers who need to be educated on how to use e-Gate systems, Helbig said.

“The U.K. has the most existing e-Gates and the British people are now trained (to work with the system),” Helbig said.

In England, he said, security personnel initially were positioned next to the facial recognition station, providing travelers tips on how to approach the station: standing about two feet back from the camera and imaging system, looking straight into the camera. Experienced users are able to pass through the system in less than 20 seconds, Helbig said, “and we are working on improving the usability for first-time users to speed up the flow for all travelers.”

Besides detecting facial features, the FaceVACS-Entry solution uses a proprietary sensor that is capable of identifying 3-D artifacts – masks and other overlaid images that could be used by those trying to pass through a border with a bogus or borrowed passport.

The system is designed to work at any border control checkpoint. Installation for the wired FaceVACS-Entry is simplified with user-friendly interfaces that integrate with other systems. Images are used for one-to-one comparison only; the system does not store them for any further use.

Cognitec, online at www.cognitec.com, operates worldwide from offices in Dresden, Germany; Rockland, MA, and Sydney, Australia.


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