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Super-fast tech will let pax walk straight into Australia

January 23, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Advanced passenger-recognition technology that will let arriving international passengers walk straight through immigration and customs with hardly a pause is reportedly being prepared for a trial at Canberra Airport in July.

Passengers on Singapore Airlines Capital Express service, which links Singapore, Canberra and Wellington, will be the first to use the new system, which uses biometric scanning of the face, iris and/or fingerprints, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.

The new high-speed recognition system will scan passengers as they move down special corridors, rather than their having to stop and wait.


The report said a major airport such as Sydney or Melbourne would be selected to trial the new system in November, with the rollout completed Australia-wide by March 2019.

The Seamless Traveller project has been underway since 2015. Last year, Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Michael Pezzullo, outlined developments.

“Rather than ‘militarising’ our department and our workforce, we in fact want to move in a very different direction – that of minimal contact and an increasingly automated border with little or no burdensome interaction with travellers, traders and even, in some cases, temporary migrants,” Pezzullo said.

“This will allow the ABF [Australian Border Force] to focus its efforts on those who really warrant its attention – those engaged in unlawful activity who would otherwise do us harm were it not for the vigilance, skill and dedication of the ABF officers.”

By 2020 the Australian government wants 90% of travellers processed automatically with no human involvement, making arrival at international terminals rather like arriving at domestic terminals.

The system works by automatically recognising travellers who are already registered, thus freeing up ABF staff to work more intensively on the remaining 10%.

“To prepare itself for the challenges of the 21st century and manage the growing volumes of people and goods crossing our borders, we have to focus on improving our core capabilities, systems and processes, particularly with regards to intelligence, data analytics, biometrics and visa processing,” Pezzullo said.

Facial recognition technology is improving rapidly. Suprema, a global leader in biometrics and security, will unveil what it calls the world’s fastest and most advanced face recognition technology at Intersec in Dubai this week. The company’s new FaceStation 2 is said to have attained an ultra-fast matching speed of 3000 matches per second, even in low light, making it “the world’s fastest facial recognition technology in its class”.

Written by Peter Needham

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