Port flirts with face recognition technology

Truck drivers using Port of Brisbane might soon need to submit to eye and facial scans

Port flirts with face recognition technology
Port flirts with face recognition technology
By Rob McKay | October 19, 2010

Drivers servicing the Port of Brisbane will have to submit to a biometric enrolment if the port goes ahead with a facial and iris recognition security system.

The port is working with National Information and Communications Technology Australia (NICTA) to work out a way of continuing port operations with the least disruption in the event of a Maritime Security (Marsec) Level 2 alert.

The project, led by the University of Queensland’s Professor Brian Lovell, would see the port use an array of digital cameras that would also take high-resolution images of drivers and whole trucks, including number plates.

The idea is to avoid having drivers leave their cabs for manual inspection of identification documents, which will cause unsustainable port and supply-chain disruption and congestion in the event of heightened security.

Instead, drivers will roll down their windows and look into a camera as they drive past it slowly.

Once recognition is made, the boom gate will open. However, more than one person in the cab will necessitate manual intervention.

"It [would be] like an automatic toll system that actually identifies the driver of the vehicle," Lovell says.

"This is what the port would like and many ports would like so they can have that level of security all the time."

Manual enrolment itself will be swift, about as long and gaining photo-identification, with the same technology involved.

Iris recognition, which has "very high reliability", is also an option and has advanced to the stage where it can be undertaken from up to a metre away.

The system, if agreed, is likely to mean two lanes into the port in future, with the fast lane for those enrolled.

The information will be held by the port rather than become part of the Marsec system, Lovell says.

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