Facial recognition could unlock phones and even create better parties but soon the tool could streamline the process of going through security at the airport. According to The National, the Dubai International Airport in United Arab Emirates will soon be integrating a virtual tunnel with facial recognition to speed up the process of passing through security.
The tunnel is equipped with 80 different cameras and has a virtual aquarium along the walls designed not just for atheistic but to direct the face toward those cameras for scanning. The aquarium can also be switched to a different scene or even for displaying advertising. At the end of the tunnel, a green message will give passengers the go-ahead, or they will be stopped by airport security.
Travelers will need to register at a kiosk to scan their face into the system, allowing the tunnel to recognize each passenger.
The first tunnel will be installed in 2018 in Terminal 3, with additional security tunnels added through 2020. That is the year when the number of passengers departing from Dubai is expected to hit 124 million — an increase of more than 40 million from the current number of travelers.
The tunnel will replace the security clearance desk portion of the process — and while airport officials say the desk only takes about five seconds of a traveler’s time, speeding up the process is necessary for accommodating the growing number of travelers.
“We have been working for about four years to transform the procedure from the traditional counter and in the future, we will not need the counter at all,” Major Gen Obaid Al Hameeri, deputy director general of Dubai residency and foreign affairs, told The National. “There will be auditing, of course, but not through the counter.”
While the tunnel starts with face scanning, the airport plans to expand the capability to iris scanning as well.
The tunnel comes along with other increases to security using new technology, including a new scanning device that detects more explosives than the previous scanner.
The airport isn’t the first to explore using facial recognition technology as a security measure. JetBlue began testing the idea earlier this year. A sign-in kiosk called Clear uses iris scans and fingerprints not to replace security but the confirm identity when checking in. The Dubai International Airport also has a “drone hunter” to spot trespassing drones.