Beijing launches smart crosswalk and uses facial recognition to catch traffic violators

2020-09-17 08:17:20Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Beijing has installed a smart crosswalk that can send audio alerts to pedestrians and uses facial recognition to catch traffic violators and display their faces on public video screens, according to media reports on Wednesday. 

The system at an intersection in Zhongguancun, a technology hub in Beijing's Haidian district, was officially launched on September 10, according to media reports. 

The system can broadcast audio messages to pedestrians warning them the traffic light is about to change. 

The zebra crossing is also lined with small lights that flash red or green lights telling pedestrians they should stop or go. 

"It is the first smart zebra crossing in Beijing that can alert pedestrians through voice alerts and lights," Xu Hui, an official from the Haidian district management committee, told the Beijing Evening News. 

The system can also snap pictures of pedestrians who jump a red light and show their faces on a large screen on the side of the road. 

The crosswalk has triggered discussion on Chinese social media with some people saying that it's a good measure. 

Some netizens noted that a similar system was installed several years ago in Ji'nan, Shandong Province and Nanjing, Jiangsu Province. Some cities even publically displayed ID numbers on public video screens of those caught violating traffic laws, according to some netizens.

Facial recognition has been used to catch red light jumpers in Haidian district in Beijing since 2018, according to media reports.   

"We are seeing fewer red light jumpers since we used the system," district worker Zhang Wei was quoted as saying in a report in 2018.

But some netizens expressed privacy concerns about displaying traffic violators' faces in public.  

Authorities in Ji'nan responded to the concerns by blurring the violators' faces before posting them on the public screen and the middle digits of their ID numbers are concealed.


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