It’ll soon be quicker to move through airports. Heathrow is rolling out a facial recognition system to let passengers check in, drop off bags, get through security and board planes. Passports and boarding cards won’t have to be removed from your pocket.
The proposed system is similar to facial recognition systems already used at airport border controls, where a camera compares your face to the photo stored in a passport’s embedded chip; like those automated gates, this will also be optional.
When a passenger shows up at check-in, the system will take a digital image of their face, comparing it to the one on their scanned passport and tying it to their flight details. When it’s time to go through security, and later to board the aircraft, facial recognition is used to open automated gates rather than showing a boarding pass to a guard or scanning a barcode. “We’re really trying to remove the constant need to show your passport or boarding card through that journey,” Simon Wilcox, programme manager for automation at Heathrow, says.
Heathrow has already been trialling the technology this summer and says it is now ready for a wider rollout. Airport bosses say it plans to choose suppliers and link up the various systems over the next several months, in order to have the biometric system in place for summer 2019.