Press Release | April 27, 2020

Pilot project of Deutsche Bahn and brighter AI: Anonymized passenger analysis for capacity measurement

The implementation of distance regulations to contain COVID-19 is particularly difficult in the public transportation sector. In order to prevent trains from overcrowding, plan passenger capacities optimally and manage passenger flows intelligently, Deutsche Bahn will be piloting automated passenger density analysis for the first time from 27 April 2020 in Stuttgart. The anonymization technology of brighter AI makes it possible to use the existing camera infrastructure of the trains in a data protection compliant way.

Strategies and scenarios for relaxing the Corona behavior rules for a controlled ramp-up of public life and economic activity after the shutdown are currently being discussed throughout Germany. Public transport plays a central role as a system-relevant infrastructure and important public space – the use of technology can make a significant contribution to contain the wave of infection and to comply with relevant public guidelines. Dr. Dirk Rothenstein, CEO of S-Bahn Stuttgart, the executing entity, explains: “We are trying to find out whether we can use the existing technology and thus create added value for our passengers”. In a concrete application, brighter AI provides DB with the “Identity Protection Suite”, including anonymization, analysis and conformity check.

In the first step, the data from existing train cameras will be made usable by means of ‘Deep Natural Anonymization’, in which personal information such as faces will be replaced by synthetic objects. The result is video recordings that protect the personal identity and at the same time enable digital processing of these datasets. An analysis is then carried out solely on the basis of protected identities and no video data ever leaves the devices. In addition, the outgoing metadata are subject to a conformity check, which ensures that no personal reference can be made (e.g. in accordance with ‘k-anonymity’). Marian Gläser, co-founder and CEO of brighter AI, explains: “With our anonymization technologies we want to resolve the alleged ethical conflict between privacy rights on the one hand and data-based innovation on the other. By protecting personal data, such as faces in image and video data and then making it available for analytics, we enable numerous use cases and new business models under the protection of personal identity”.

Pilot projects along the lines of the passenger analysis of DB and brighter AI make an indispensable contribution to establishing new standards and creating social acceptance of data-based services and products. For example, the cooperation between the start-up and the long-established company is subject to a continuous data protection review of anonymization and the downstream analytics purposes. The parties are convinced that where the use of technology provides visible social added value and personal rights are simultaneously protected to a high degree, sustainable models are created and the way is paved for a digitization practice that does not play off data protection and innovation against each other.


Additional information and contact

brighter AI

Brighter AI Technologies GmbH
Kopenhagener Straße 76 | 10437 Berlin
Marian Gläser
Co-Founder & CEO

S-Bahn Stuttgart

DB Regio AG
Am Nordseekai 36 | 73207 Plochingen
Dr. Dirk Rothenstein
Managing Director