China taps tech to ease crush of annual CNY migration

Robots, biometrics help provide millions a less stressful trip home

Passengers waiting to board their trains at Hangzhou East Railway Station in Zhejiang province on Wednesday, ahead of Chinese New Year next week. Nearly three billion trips will be made during the 40-day travel rush that began on Jan 21 and ends on M
Above: Policemen patrolling with a security robot at a railway station in Shenzhen last week. PHOTO: REUTERS
Above: Policemen patrolling with a security robot at a railway station in Shenzhen last week. Left: A woman having her face scanned by a ticket machine at a railway station in Guangzhou on Sunday.
Above: A woman having her face scanned by a ticket machine at a railway station in Guangzhou on Sunday.PHOTO: REUTERS, EPA-EFE
Above: Policemen patrolling with a security robot at a railway station in Shenzhen last week. Left: A woman having her face scanned by a ticket machine at a railway station in Guangzhou on Sunday.
Passengers waiting to board their trains at Hangzhou East Railway Station in Zhejiang province on Wednesday, ahead of Chinese New Year next week. Nearly three billion trips will be made during the 40-day travel rush that began on Jan 21 and ends on March 1, according to the authorities. By Sunday, more than 10.4 million train trips had already been taken, a 17 per cent increase from last year. PHOTO: REUTERS

With the world's biggest human migration once again in full swing, China is counting on high-technology tools such as biometrics and autonomous robots to ease the travel crush.

The country's annual Chinese New Year exodus sees millions of people return to their home towns for family reunions, with this year's edition to usher in the Year of the Pig having started last week. It pushes the country's transport system to the limit.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2019, with the headline 'China taps tech to ease crush of annual CNY migration'. Subscribe