Journey of Hands-Free Travel with Cutting-Edge Facial Recognition

In a world rapidly transitioning to contactless and cashless systems, Marubeni Corporation and Toyama Chihou Tetsudou Inc. have joined forces to introduce an
Facial Recognition Payment
Facial Recognition PaymentImage Source – Marubeni

In a world rapidly transitioning to contactless and cashless systems, Marubeni Corporation and Toyama Chihou Tetsudou Inc. have joined forces to introduce an innovative pilot test for facial recognition payment on the Ikuji loop bus route. By seamlessly integrating facial recognition technology with a mobile app-based prepaid card, this groundbreaking payment method aims to address societal challenges and enhance user convenience.

Marubeni Corporation, recognizing the need for practical solutions in the evolving landscape of payment systems, is harnessing the significant advancements in facial recognition technology. By integrating this cutting-edge technology with payment functions, Marubeni aims to contribute to the improvement of user convenience while addressing the emerging demands of a contactless society. Building on the success of a recent pilot test for facial recognition payment on public transportation in Nagano prefecture, Marubeni is now expanding its endeavors to the Ikuji loop bus route in collaboration with Toyama Chihou Tetsudou Inc.

Toyama Chihou Tetsudou Inc., committed to improving service levels and promoting the use of public transportation, has partnered with Marubeni to conduct this pilot test. The objective is to evaluate the practicality of facial recognition as a fare payment system compared to existing methods such as IC card payment and contactless payment. By identifying the advantages and disadvantages of different payment methods, Toyama Chihou Tetsudou Inc. aims to enhance user convenience and further streamline the travel experience.

Marubeni Corporation's previous pilot tests using facial recognition technology have demonstrated its high accuracy and reliability. In this latest test, users who have pre-registered their facial data will have their faces identified in the fixed-fare section of the route, and payment will be automatically deducted from their app-based prepaid card. By evaluating the integration and operation of the payment process during the pilot test, Marubeni aims to pave the way for the early commercialization of facial recognition payment in public transportation and other sectors where hands-free services are in high demand.

Moreover, Marubeni is collaborating with the three-university program "ENGINE," led by Shinshu University, to foster industry-academia initiatives. Through workshops focusing on transportation issues in local regions, participants will explore solutions and create new value by leveraging digital technology and drawing on personal experiences with facial recognition technology.

To experience hands-free travel, users are required to download, install, register, and charge the app-based prepaid card in advance. Upon boarding the bus, passengers need only briefly look at the tablet device installed in the vehicle for facial recognition. This eliminates the need for smartphones or cash, allowing fare settlement even if users have their hands occupied or have forgotten their smartphones or cash.

During the pilot test, which will run from June 1, 2023, to August 31, 2023, the Ikuji loop bus route will serve as the target section. Major bus stops along the route include Roadside Station KOKO-Kurobe, Kurobe Station, Dentetsu Kurobe Station, Ikujiguchi, Tanakaya-mae, and Ikuji Station. The duration and target routes may be subject to change based on the progress of the trial. Please refer to the Toyama Chihou Railway website for detailed information on the target routes.

Marubeni Corporation will oversee the project and conduct a business feasibility study, while Toyama Chihou Tetsudou Inc. will operate the buses equipped with facial recognition payment technology. Marubeni Network Solutions is responsible for the development of the facial recognition payment technology platform, while R.D.Works contributes its expertise in facial recognition technology. Aplus, on the other hand, focuses on the development of the payment function.

Embark on an extraordinary journey of hands-free travel and explore the possibilities of this Japan-first facial recognition payment technology. With its potential to revolutionize the travel experience, this cutting-edge innovation is poised to enhance user convenience and pave the way for a future of seamless, contactless transactions in various sectors.

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