Facial recognition technology proposed for school buses

The Seekonk, R.I., school committee is weighing a proposal from Volpe Industries Inc. (VPI) to place GPS tracking and facial recognition equipment on a Seekonk school bus, reports EastBayRI.com. On Feb. 12, the school committee received a letter from VPI President/CEO Christopher Volpe asking whether there was interest in taking part in a pilot program for bus and student tracking. According to the letter, VPI—a local business supplier of video surveillance systems—is developing a system that will allow school departments to monitor and track their buses throughout town. “The concept is to mount two small cameras, a mini computer, and GPS tracking equipment in each bus,” reads the letter. The system would allow GPS tracking of all buses to monitor real-time location; the ability for school administrators to view the interior of all buses, with optional listen and talk capabilities; video recording of all activity on the bus while picking up and dropping off students; and tracking of all students with facial recognition to confirm that the student got on or off the correct bus. While cellular, GPS, and facial recognition technology aren’t new, Volpe said, they haven’t been combined in this fashion previously. “We’re just pulling all the different technologies together into one package,” he said. The proposed pilot raises ethical implications, but Volpe said his immediate focus is only on seeing whether or not the technology works…

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