Abu Dhabi theme parks get facial recognition for access and payments

The facial-technology system will allow contactless ticketing and payment across the parks

Abu Dhabi theme parks will soon use facial recognition technology for arriving visitors.
The technology will allow visitors to Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld, and Warner Bros World to enter the parks quickly and pay their tickets by having their faces scanned. It will also be available in some restaurants and retail shops across the parks.


But the technology will not see through masks, a spokesperson confirmed to Arab News.  Instead, visitors would need to pull down their covers momentarily for it to work reliably.

Businesses, particularly those that require physical interaction with customers, have been trying to circumvent the lasting impact of COVID-19 by introducing contactless technology in their operations, one of which is facial recognition.

Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld and Warner Bros World, located on the capital’s Yas Island, will be the first in the region to adopt FacePass technology, the island’s operator, Miral, said.
The pandemic has also posed new challenges for the developers of facial recognition algorithms, with significant advances being made since the start of the pandemic more than a year ago.
Japanese company NEC is one developer that has created a system that it says can reliably identify people wearing masks. It focuses on parts of the face that are not covered up, such as the eyes.

To see what full implementation of facial recognition at a theme park resort will look like, check out Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, which has rolled out its new FacePass system, which links facial recognition to the resort’s app for theme park admission and retail and dining payments.

“We are thrilled to be pioneering the adoption of the FacePass technology within the regional leisure and entertainment industry and delivering on our promise of creating a world-class wall-less destination using the latest technology,” Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi, CEO of Yas Island owner Miral, said. “Yas Island theme parks will be the first in the region to implement complete contactless access and payment solutions. This cutting-edge functionality is in line with our digital transformation strategy, and a testament to achieving our vision of positioning Yas Island as a top global destination for entertainment, leisure, and business.”

Yas Island is home to the Theme Park Insider Award-winning Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, as well as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and the upcoming SeaWorld Abu Dhabi. Miral said that FacePass will roll out in phases, eventually being integrated into all Yas Island assets, which also include the Yas Waterworld water park, Yas Marina Circuit Formula 1 race track, and Yas Mall, plus several hotels and other recreation facilities.

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