The US Army is once again demonstrating its interest in face-based identification technologies. The organization is now soliciting proposals for a facial recognition system that would be used to verify the identities of drivers entering Army bases.
The Broad Agency Announcement was issued through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) initiative, which hands early stage development contracts to small businesses looking to work with the Army on various projects. The facial recognition project is divided into three phases, the first of which will last for six months, with a budget of $259,613 per proposal.
In that regard, businesses are being asked to come up with a system that can automatically capture and match the faces of drivers as they approach. The system needs to be fast enough to process drivers without interrupting the flow of traffic, and needs to be able to function in adverse conditions, including in rain and at night. The faces themselves would be matched to images in a database of authorized individuals, which means that all of the drivers would be vetted long before they arrive at an actual base.
Businesses that reach the second phase will deploy their prototype at a simulated government checkpoint, before moving on to select Army facilities in phase three. That prototype will be expected to have a 100 percent identification rate. Once the system is deployed, the results of each scan will be displayed for a guard stationed at that facility.
The news comes only a few short weeks after the Army started trialing a biometric driver recognition system at the Redstone Arsenal outpost in Alabama. That particular deployment features technology from NEC and Leidos, though this latest announcement suggests that the Army is interested in developing its own solution.
In the meantime, the Army is also soliciting proposals from businesses that can help clean up the Department of Defense’s Automated Biometric Identification System. That project is expected to take anywhere from three to five years, and will help get rid of legacy biometric records that may include errors and interfere with the operation of a newer ABIS.
Proposals for both projects must be submitted before noon on May 18. The Army has also previously indicated that it would like to use facial recognition to monitor children at its Child Development Centers.
April 7, 2021 – by Eric Weiss