Alipay explores facial recognition for pets

The nose print of dogs and cats is the equivalent of fingerprints in humans. Based on this finding, Chinese giant Alipay has launched a new pet health insurance program that uses facial recognition technology to identify them, according to the press .

To create a profile, the user is invited to take several close-up photos of their animal’s face, and especially of its muzzle, so that the AI ​​platform can create a biometric model from the nasal print.

This identification system is not new. Some kennels already use nasal prints to identify lost or stolen dogs, using special ink and a simple sheet of paper. This new biometric model developed by the Chinese firm replaces microchips, currently implanted in veterinarians to facilitate the identification of animals.

Alipay explores facial recognition for pets

The rise of biometric technologies

Alipay has partnered with China Continent Insurance and digital insurance company ZhongAn. The program will be managed by Alibaba’s subsidiary, Ant Financial, with prices starting at 199 yuan (or around 24 euros). According to Alipay, the technology is less invasive than the microchip and its accuracy rate is over 99%, reports the South China Morning Post .

Alipay is not, however, the first company to apply biometric technology to animals. Another Chinese company is already working on similar technology. The company Megvii, specializing in AI, strives to differentiate dogs by their nasal prints.

The American mobile application Finding Rover also uses a machine-learning algorithm developed at the University of Utah to compare photos of lost dogs against a database.