Remember our report on QR code payments to travel on the Shanghai Metro? Although this brand-new function won’t be fully operational until early 2018, Alipay are already making plans to further enhance the technology at Shanghai Metro stations, including the implementation of face-scanning payment and voice-recognition ticketing.
On December 5, Shanghai Metro signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Alipay and Ant Financial and during the signing ceremony, Alipay showcased some of its latest innovations.
One of them is face-scanning payment, demonstrated through next-generation turnstiles. Unlike the current turnstiles, the new ones are installed with face-recognition cameras. Travelers can pass the turnstiles by merely looking at them. The whole process is much faster than QR code or IC card payments.
“The turnstiles at the ceremony are just prototypes,” explains Liu Xiaojie, general manager of public service department of Ant Financial. “By the time we wrap up R&D, they will even be able to tell human beings from photos.”
Some old-school passengers may fear this will be the end of their trusted IC card. Well, their worries are totally unnecessary. Shanghai Metro confirmed all the three payments will co-exist in the future. “They can stick to the IC card payment if they are afraid of privacy disclosure.” confirms Liu.
During the ceremony, a further advancement in technology for future train travel was unveiled in the form of voice-recognition ticketing. Shanghai’s Metro network is the longest in the world, but one can easily become puzzled when facing such a complicated system.
Thanks to the brand-new ticket machine, any confusion can be eliminated. Passengers only need to tell the machine where they want to go (the destination doesn’t even have to be an existing station, e.g. Oriental Pearl TV Tower), and the machine will recommend which line to take and which station to disembark.
READ MORE: Shanghai Metro Line 17 is Opening Very Soon
“We have implemented the machine with technologies of signal processing and computer vision,” says E Zhijie, an AI expert of Alipay. “In other words, our ticket machine can work smoothly even in a noisy public space like a metro station.”
Shanghai Metro’s all-new Intelligent Pedestrians Analysis System also made its debut at the ceremony. Connected with Alipay’s cloud platform, the system can predict the passenger volume in the next 5 minutes, which will be a great help in easing the traffic burden.
Over the last few months, Alipay has also released face-scanning unmanned stores, and Apps to find pet-friendly restaurants and public toilets. It seems Alipay is determined to reshape the future with its cutting-edge technology and bring more convenience to the public.
[Images via Eastday]