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New facial recognition systems at Australian airports

Posted: 28 July 2017 12:46 pm

Airport security

Australian airports are set to go near-fully biometric in the next 3 years.

"Australia is committed to being a world leader in the use of biometrics at our border," said Peter Dutton, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, in a statement on 27 July. Right now this is taking the form of upgrades across Australian airports, as part of a $22.5-million contract with Vision-Box Australia.

Airports have already benefited greatly from the use of biometric border security, where smart gates let travellers quickly self check-in with automated photography, and fingerprint and passport scanning, but the next three years might see an even bigger improvement, with:

  • 105 new smart gates in Australian airports, to further cut queues
  • Near-complete reliance on facial recognition technology

You won't even have to produce your passport

The second part is a technological leap forwards, with the aim being a system "relying wholly on facial recognition technology" to "enable known travellers to self-process through the border without producing their passport."

Australian airports are currently handling about 40-million passengers per year, but the number of travellers is projected to increase to 50-million by 2020. This will be a very noticeable difference, not unlike travelling in peak times all year-around.

When these complete facial recognition systems come out in the next three years, you'll probably recognise it first as a smoothly-flowing high-speed queue. With bigger queues and busier airports, it'll be a good time to fly as a "known traveller," and a great time to escape the crowds with complimentary airport lounge access.

Vision-Box is also working on mobile biometric security gates, so as airports expand to accommodate more travellers and experiment with different layouts, you might also start seeing smart gates in different places.

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