The downtown Beijing to Daxing International Airport subway line in the Chinese capital has introduced a new feature that enhances convenience for passengers. By simply scanning the palm of their hand, individuals can now enter and exit stations, demonstrating the potential of utilizing biometric data in public transportation.
The pilot program was initiated on Sunday on the Daxing Airport Express subway line, aiming to eliminate the need for passengers to swipe cards or scan QR codes when boarding a train. According to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport, this initiative intends to streamline the commuting experience.
To participate in the program, any commuter aged 14 and above can easily register their palm print through an automated process. They are also required to provide relevant information to authorize the payment gateway of WeChat, a widely-used messaging app in China.
Once the palm print is successfully registered, commuters can simply scan their palm at any automated ticket gate to pass through. The fare is automatically deducted from their account upon exit, making the payment process seamless and efficient.
According to Zhang Li, an expert at the Beijing Metro Network Control Center, the ticket gates now possess the capability to recognize users’ palm prints and veins without any physical contact. This innovative approach not only ensures a higher level of hygiene but also offers a faster and safer alternative to conventional check-in methods.
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By combining the utilization of palm print and vein mapping, the biometric system establishes a unique identification for each individual. The registration process only needs to be completed once and does not necessitate regular renewal. To safeguard user information, the commission has implemented data masking and encryption technologies.
Xin Jianhua, the general manager of the public service center at WeChat Pay, envisions a gradual expansion of palm scan usage beyond transportation. Offices, schools, gyms, and restaurants can also benefit from this technology as it eliminates the need for physical contact, thereby enhancing safety and efficiency.