Coming soon: Facial recognition system for Dubai Metro stations

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Dubai - The emirate already operates a biometric system using facial recognition at its international airport.


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Sun 25 Oct 2020, 9:24 PM

Last updated: Mon 26 Oct 2020, 6:23 AM

Dubai is introducing a facial recognition system on public transport to beef up security, officials said on Sunday as a new simulation and training facility was launched for the Transport Security Department in the emirate.

The Hamdan Smart Station for Simulation and Training was officially opened by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council. The state-of-the-art training facility aims to enhance the readiness of security and law enforcement personnel to deal with emergencies.

Jamal Rashed, of the Dubai Police’s Transport Security Department, said the facial recognition technology will be rolled out in the coming months in all metro stations.

Other technology already in use to combat the spread of the new coronavirus, such as helmets with thermal cameras and smart glasses, will also be used to identify and manage large crowds.

“It took at least five hours to identify a suspect before,” said Rashed. “With this technology, it takes less than a minute.”

Equipped with the latest tools, the station utilises virtual reality and simulation technologies to provide comprehensive scenario-based emergency training.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed was briefed on the smart security systems used in the operation room, including the CCTV systems installed at Dubai Metro stations, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) surveillance cameras installed at the Expo 2020 Metro Station and the smart biometric attendance system.

Sheikh Hamdan said the UAE security sector has become one of the most advanced globally, thanks to the guidance of the leadership and their keenness to strengthen the country’s security system and ensure protection for the entire community.

Obaid Al Hathboor, Director of Dubai’s Transport Security Department, said the new technology has proven its effectiveness to identify suspicious and wanted people.

The emirate already operates a biometric system using facial recognition at its international airport.

“We aspire to raise our performance by building on our current capabilities, to ensure a high level of security at metro stations and other transport sectors,” said Al Hathboor.

Earlier this week, the city’s police used facial recognition in a simulated scenario to identify gunmen launching an attack on a metro station.

A special police unit, trained in the United States, helped “evacuate” commuters from the station in the mock attack, before working in tandem with a control centre to apprehend the suspects. Members of the special unit will be sent to major metro stations during Expo 2020.

Sheikh Hamdan also congratulated the Hamdan Smart Station for Simulation and Training for earning a Guinness World Record for the largest workshop hosted for transport security experts. The workshop was attended by 321 experts and discussed the key challenges facing the security sector.

Chairman of the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in Dubai Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; Deputy Chief of Police and General Security in Dubai Lieutenant-General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim; Commander in Chief of Dubai Police Lieutenant-General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri; Director-General of State Security in Dubai Major-General Talal Belhoul; Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer; and Colonel Obaid Al Hathboor, Director of Transport Security Department in Dubai, also attended the inauguration.

(With inputs from AFP)

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