SAITAMA--Saitama Railway Corp. said it has introduced the world’s first system that runs advertisements depending on what types of passengers are aboard a train car.

Cameras mounted beside monitors installed above the doors of the train car can detect the age, gender and other attributes of passengers standing nearby.

Using artificial intelligence (AI), the system analyzes and combines the data with other information, such as weather forecasts, to offer advertisements based on likely passenger preferences.

An official of the railway operator says one example of the system’s use is running an advertisement for beer when many male passengers are traveling during an evening rush hour in summer.

The monitors are connected to the Internet through the high-speed LTE network service. That setup allows for a far wider range of advertisements than the DVD-based one. The monitors can also run different advertisements even in the same car.

The system started in November.

“Railway operations are an old-fashioned business, but we may be able to change such perceptions by introducing this kind of system,” said Hiroshi Ogino, president of Saitama Railway. “We want to revitalize areas along our rail lines by successfully adopting the new system.”

The company plans to install 18.5-inch monitors, among the largest in Japan for those set up above the doors of a train car.

Two monitors each will be set up above two of the four doors on each side of a train car. The eight monitors will be arranged so that they will not face each other.

The railway operator plans to equip all 60 of its train cars with those monitors by April.

Three companies--system development company BiZright Technology Inc., Live Board Inc., which runs a digital signage business, and mobile phone carrier NTT Docomo Inc.--have cooperated with Saitama Railway in developing the “dynamic vehicle screen” system.

The companies said the system will not collect information that can identify individuals or record footage of the passengers. They said the passenger data will not even be shared among themselves.

Saitama Railway used to run advertisements through a DVD player in the driver’s seat.

The contents of the advertisements were changed once a month or so, but revenues from those advertisements had been nearly zero because many of the videos were public service ads from Kawaguchi city.

To sell advertisement spots, Saitama Railway will adopt the AI impression-based sales method in addition to the traditional way through assigned time slots.

Under the impression-based sales method, the advertisements will continue to run until a certain number of passengers watch those ads as specified in a contract.