New airport technologies unveiled at the Paris Air Show this week promise robots replacing immigration officers and much faster identification of criminals through their biometric data. French electrical systems company Thales, premiered its new equipment designed to speed up passage through airports. In their vision of the future, passengers will no longer deal with check-in desks - an innovation already making way in many airports. To take that even further, Thales has designed a machine that not only scans passports and prints boarding passes, but also records an image of the passenger's face and iris, which are then shared with computers around the airport.
The images are already in the system when the passenger arrives at the immigration desk, allowing a tall, white robot to automatically confirm the person's identity without the need for human border staff.
"You would only need one agent for every four or five machines," said Pascal Zenoni, a Thales manager presenting the equipment at the air show.
"These systems can free up staff for the police and create more space in the airport," he added.
The passenger's face is also printed in encrypted form on the boarding pass, so that it can be scanned by staff at the gate for a final identity check. Thales hopes to build on its expertise as the maker of biometric passports and ID cards for 25 countries, including France. Meanwhile, in another air show stand, competitors Safran discussed their new systems for coping with the giant amount of data being collected on passengers.
Their new analytical system from subsidiary Morpho, which begins live testing in France in September, is expected to gather data on more than 100 million passengers from up to 230 airlines per year. It sifts through the records, checking over 300 behavioral "warning signs," then signals the company if there is something it disagrees with, so it can be looked into further, in more detail. It also checks it against Interpol and other police records, searching primarily for terrorists and organized criminals. Morpho is a world leader in criminal identification, running biometric systems for the FBI and other clients.