This is an interesting Wall Street Journal article that shows how there is an ever-increasing degree of automation in airport security. For example, many airports in Europe, Australia and the U.S. are using biometrics analyzing machines instead of people to identify fliers via their faces, irises, or fingerprints. (About 28 percent of the airports worldwide now use biometric technology, which is up from 18 percent in 2008). Several major European airports have also started using these automated ID checks at security checkpoints and boarding gates, and eventually, they could render the printed boarding pass a relic of the past.
Ultimately, the technology could “get rid of the boarding pass completely,” with fliers’ faces serving as their tickets, said Michael Ibbitson, chief information officer of London Gatwick Airport. Gatwick performed a trial this year in which it processed 3,000 British Airways IAG.MC +1.15% fliers without boarding passes. The fliers scanned their irises when checking in, enabling cameras at security checkpoints and boarding gates to automatically recognize them. “We’re only just starting to see what biometrics can do,” he said.
The biometric technology is also being used with other non-security related purposes in mind. For example, London Gatwick Airport is also using facial-recognition software to calculate line wait times in real time at its checkpoints. The airport takes images of almost all fliers’ faces as they pass through the checkpoints and then cross-references those images to note when each flier leaves the checkpoints. The data provides an accurate estimate of wait-time.
Can Robots Better Spot Terrorists at Airports? [via The Wall Street Journal]