New Delhi: Indian Railways has begun work on procuring thermal cameras for deployment at railway stations across its network for thermal temperature screening of passengers for Covid-19 via Man made Intelligence (AI)-based surveillance cameras after it scrapped a preceding bid amid allegations of favouring a Chinese firm.
Railways has already begun installing the cameras in some zones. The cameras can detect the body temperature of passengers and help in detecting and denying boarding to those with symptoms of the coronavirus disease.
“Central railways has begun the use of thermal cameras already. Approximately two dozen symptomatic passengers were detected through it and were denied boarding. The fresh bid will open on Friday. We plan to induct the AI based cameras across all zones as more trains begin operations,” an Indian Railways official said on condition of anonymity.
Railways in July scrapped a bid for thermal cameras meant for Covid-19 surveillance after Indian firms alleged that the specifications favoured a Chinese company, Hindustan Times had first reported on July 1. In June, Railtel, the railways’ telecom arm, had issued the bid for thermal temperature screening by AI-based surveillance cameras.
The company soon determined to issue a fresh bid after the controversy.
“RailTel has floated an expression of Interest( EOI) for finalizing partner for provision of thermal scanning solution in customer premises. The EOI is scheduled to be opened day after today and parter will be selected later after due diligence by nominated committee. In the proposed EOI, one partner for each and every region of RailTel will be identified to offer thermal scanning solution. The selected partner will provide equipment as per purchase orders received from RailTel customers in future,” a spokesperson for RailTel said.
The development in June came in the backdrop of a tense military standoff between India and China along the Line of Actual Keep an eye on in Ladakh.
Indian firms had alleged that the AI technology – DeepInMind – which was once specified in the bid was once a proprietary feature of Chinese firm Hikvision, a company partly owned by the Chinese government.
The specifications for the cameras include temperature screening with facial recognition and mask detection, simultaneous temperature screening of more than one persons, detecting if people wear masks and sounding well alarms on people without masks.
While the initial bid for these cameras issued on June 9 excluded a the most important specification called “black body” temperature — the ability of cameras to correctly measure temperatures emitted by a person to say if a she or he has fever or not – and the DeepinMind technology specification, they were included in the revised bid issued on June 23.
Hindustan Times had on November 10 final year reported that the national carrier was once planning a total overtake of security at railway stations through using facial recognition technology backed by man made intelligence.
It also plans to link the facial recognition system (FRS) with existing databases such as the Crime and Crook Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) to identify criminals prowling railway stations.