No ticket, no problem: Facial recognition could replace Oyster cards

In the future when you travel on the London Underground there may be no need for Oyster cards, or even ticket barriers – and your face may act as your pass to travel.

Cubic Transportation Systems, which designed the technology behind the Oyster card, is working on a futuristic new way to pay for travel.

Forget retro Oyster cards – the new system would mean you pay by facial recognition, palm vein patterns, or your phone, which you won’t even need to take out of your pocket.

Open corridors replace barriers in this concept station
This is how new corridors, replacing ticket barriers, might look (Maynard)

The prototype system still takes Oyster and contactless payments, but can also detect low energy Bluetooth signals from your phone as you pass through.

Otherwise, you can pay using your palm. Vein scanners can detect the specific pattern under your skin so, unlike fingerprints, they won’t be affected by grubby hands.

Travellers would register their faces or palm patterns at stations beforehand, and these would be recognised by cameras and infrared sensors as they head to the platform.

Concept art for the futuristic new ticketing system (Maynard)
Concept art for the futuristic new ticketing system (Maynard)

Instead of individual ticket barriers, people would be tracked through corridors, checking they’ve validated their face or palm ticket.

Those who hadn’t paid would be subject to some kind of warning and the company is experimenting with how to put off fare dodgers, although it says this trial is for stations without barriers.

Even if fare evaders weren’t put off by flashing lights or alarm bells, stations would know to direct staff to where skipping payment was prevalent.

More in this Section

PlayStation reveals controller for those with smaller hands

Google Maps now offers a tour of the solar system

Motorola has launched a wearable for your dog

Toyota’s new driverless concept vehicles can recognise emotions

Today's Stories

OPW to use demountable barriers in €140m Cork flood plan

Cork City Council defends mayor’s use of official car to drive him home from FF ard fheis

Medic: Savita died as result of abortion laws

Port of Cork's Captain Michael McCarthy named October 'Cork Person of the Month’


Facing fears while terrifying punters at Cork's Nightmare Realm

Weathering the storm of 1961: We watched 30 large trees uprooted

Remembering the dead: Poignant reason behind Cork’s Zombie Walk

More From The Irish Examiner