Story at a glance

  • Guangzhou is the first city in China to install thermometers on buses.
  • The data of riders can be stored in real-time and tracked if needed.
  • The coronavirus has killed more than 2,000 people, with all but six in mainland China.

Facial recognition thermometers have been installed in buses in a Chinese city in an effort to detect symptoms of the coronavirus in passengers, according to Chinese state-run media

The smart thermometers that are capable of measuring the temperatures of commuters within one second have been installed on buses on two routes in Guangzhou, the capital of south China’s Guangdong Province, according to the Xinhua news agency

The thermometer scans passenger’s faces at the entrance of the bus while they swipe their transportation cards and notifies the driver if an anomaly has been detected. The temperature data of riders can also be stored in real-time for tracking vehicles, drivers and passengers if needed. 

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Guangzhou is the first city to install the facial recognition thermometers on buses. The devices are in the trial operation phase and major bus routes and stations in other parts of the country are expected to be equipped with the thermometers according to the needs of epidemic prevention and control. 

The technology shines a light on the Chinese government’s close surveillance of its residents. 

Government agencies have teamed up with tech firms to use its mass surveillance technology as a way to combat the spread of the coronavirus. An app was launched last week that lets people check whether they’ve been in proximity to somebody with the coronavirus. The app utilizes the Chinese government’s high-tech surveillance apparatus, which includes a video camera network, facial recognition software and artificial intelligence. 

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 2,000 people, with all but six of them in mainland China. More than 75,000 people have been infected, with more than 1,000 cases outside China. In the U.S., at least 15 cases have been confirmed.

Published on Feb 19, 2020