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Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport completes first stage testing of novel biometric security system

February 14, 2011

Sheremetyevo International Airport has completed the first stage of testing of the Russian-owned Artec Ventures new novel biometric security system BROADWAY 3D, which is based on using one of the most reliable biometrics – the three-dimensional surface of the face. The system delivers highly reliable identity recognition with minimal human involvement in the process of identification, which is of particular importance given the requirements set out in the Rules on the protection of airports and their infrastructural facilities (approved by Resolution No 42 of the government of the Russian Federation, dated 1 February 2011).

The company is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, USA with its R&D office in Moscow, Russia.

the team invented 3D face recognition technology in 1999 and cultivated it from an idea stage to a biometric solution that became an industry standard worldwide in 2006. This technology is widely used all over the world by clients ranging from government agencies, airports and military facilities to banks, factories, etc.

The Artec team met at the Moscow’s Bauman Moscow Technical University in 1998 while working on the A4Project, which specialized in 3D computer vision and scanning. In 1999, A4Lab was incorporated as a spin-off of the A4Project. A privately held company, A4Lab delivered a number of projects to the government and commercial customers including computer vision systems for mobile robot navigation, industry control, cosmetic surgery, and others.

In 2001, the key team of A4Lab formed A4Vision. A4Vision was incorporated in 2001 in Geneva, Switzerland, with a development office in Moscow, Russia to advance and productize 3D face recognition technology invented by A4Lab. Later the company moved its headquarters to Sunnyvale, California and raised approximately $30 million from Logitech, Motorola, Menlo Ventures, and Tako Ventures (Lawrence J. Ellison’s investment company), among others.

A4Vision became the world leader in 3D face recognition and its products have achieved numerous industry awards from Red Herring, Frost & Sillivan, Gartner and others. A4Vision was acquired by Bioscrypt, Inc. in 2007

The Artec Group was formed in May 2006 by Art Yukhin, a co-founder of A4Lab and A4Vision. In March 2007, Andrey Klimov, another co-founder, as well as the original team behind A4Lab and A4Vision joined the new company.

The system’s operating principle is based on video registration of the face in 3D format with the assistance of a special three-dimensional camera. Artec Group 3D scanning technology enables fast and accurate acquisition of the object surface (depth) using a method of structured light. The data is acquired by projecting a special light pattern, the grid, onto the face at a parallax angle. Grid distortion produced by the geometry of face is used to calculate the exact 3D coordinates of each point. Subsequently, as an individual passes through the turnstile, the system compares the face presented to the camera with information recorded in the database. If the two match, the system permits access.

The system has been tested by employees from the airport’s aviation security service. The system’s operational speed and reliability were checked during the testing. It was established during the testing that registration of data for each person takes no more than two seconds, and recognition speed takes less than one second. Within this period, the device manages to read information from the surface of the face by analysing 40,000 points on the face, constructs a mathematical model of the face with sub-millimetre precision, and carries out a comparison with faces held in the database. The recognition system and the operational device contribute to a throughput speed of up to 30 people per minute.

The new system was also tested to check its capacity to recognize attempts at falsification and deception, and the forging of access cards by registered individuals. During the period it was operational, the system displayed a high level of effectiveness: over the course of one month, more than 3,500 individuals passed through and not a single mistake was detected where the system admitted an unregistered employee. Testing was conducted automatically without any involvement from employees of the security service.

The advantage of the new biometric system is that it does not require physical contact with or precise positioning in front of the device. The system is capable of recognizing people of various ages and sizes. The quality of recognition is not affected by glasses, hairstyles or beards.

The initial testing has shown that the system is an additional effective technical asset for ensuring a proper regime within a facility and reliable access control without the deployment of staff in the airport’s production and special areas. The choice of those facilities where the use of the system is acceptable and most effective will be determined once testing of the equipment has been completed.

Sheremetyevo International Airport is Russia’s largest airport as measured by international carriage. Sheremetyevo’s passenger traffic increased by 31 per cent in 2010 and set an all-time record for the airport of 19,329,000 people.

In 2010, Sheremetyevo led the ACI Europe rankings in terms of growth in the number of passengers carried (among airports where the passenger traffic varies between no less than 10 million and no more than 25 million people). Sheremetyevo achieved an increase in passenger traffic of 28.4 per cent in November 2010.

New terminal at Sheremetyevo
New terminal at Sheremetyevo
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