The Emirate of Dubai intends to adopt facial recognition technology in public transport for “security” reasons, according to what officials announced to AFP this week, a year before the start of the World Expo in the emirate.

The facial recognition system is used in airports and smartphones, and this technology allows people to be identified by recording and capturing facial feature

he Director of the Transportation Security Department, Brigadier General Obaid Al-Hathboor, confirmed to AFP that this system “has proven effective in terms of identifying suspicious or wanted persons.”

Thanks to its most diversified economy in the Gulf and the Middle East, and its modern infrastructure, Dubai has become in recent years an important air transport hub, a financial center, a tourist destination, and a city that relies heavily on technology and artificial intelligence.

According to Al-Hathboor, “We aspire to harness the capabilities that we have in raising the level of performance of insurance rates in metro stations and in the various transportation sectors.”

A few days ago, the Transportation Security Department organized a simulation of an attack in a copy of a metro station, under the gaze of Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed.

A special police unit that was trained in the United States intervened in the scenario under which a young man launched an attack and was monitored by facial recognition technology.

The intervention team keeps in touch with the control center, which transfers the information and data collected. The passengers are urgently evacuated and the attacker is arrested.

These special units will be deployed in the major metro station that will serve the site of the World Expo that Dubai will host, starting from October 2021.

The official in the Transportation Security Administration, Jamal Ahmed Rashid, confirmed to AFP that the facial recognition system, in use by the army, is in the “machine learning” stage of public transport. It will go into effect in the coming months in all stations.

Other technologies used during the Covid-19 crisis will also be developed and popularized, such as helmets and smart glasses, as well as drones aimed at identifying and managing crowds.

Rashid explains that in the past “to identify a wanted or suspected person, it used to take at least five hours … and today, with the modern system, this can be done in less than a minute … and the system gives complete results.”