Sydney Airport begins 'couch-to-gate' biometrics trial

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Sydney Airport begins 'couch-to-gate' biometrics trial

For select Qantas passengers.

Sydney Airport has started offering select Qantas passengers the option to complete most pre-boarding processes using just their face.

It has kicked off a trial of ‘couch-to-gate’ Vision-Box facial recognition technology to improve the passenger experience within the airport.

The airport has been developing the new facial recognition technology since early 2017 as part of its fast passenger processing project.

Sydney Airport revealed the passenger management system in May.

It is an evolution of the Department of Home Affairs' automated border clearance process, and focuses on pre-boarding activities. 

The trial will “test four key steps in the passenger journey including automated check-in, bag drop, lounge access and boarding”, Sydney Airport said in a statement.

Cameras will be placed at those facilities to allow passengers to be tracked as they move through the terminal.

It will also use “face on the move technology” in the arrivals hall as part of the trial to capture a passenger’s image and update their biometric token on return to Australia.

A future version could allow passengers to check-in from home using an app to capture a biometric registration.

International Qantas passengers will the first to benefit from the technology in a trial that is expected to run for up to three months.

Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said the biometrics trial was the first step towards “mak[ing] the airport experience easier and more convenient for passengers”.

“We’re very excited that select Qantas passengers now have the chance to experience this highly sophisticated technology as part of this landmark trial,” he said.

“We’ve worked with Qantas from the outset and are delighted to be partnering with them as we trial this technology.

“In the future, there will be no more juggling passports and bags at check-in and digging through pockets or smartphones to show your boarding pass – your face will be your passport and your boarding pass at every step of the process.”

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