Before boarding any flight, passengers have to keep certain things in mind. Like reaching the airport early, carrying a valid ID and boarding pass, making sure the luggage has appropriate tags and that there are no restricted items in the hand luggage etc. But what if you could skip some of these steps and your face itself was your boarding pass? Sounds something straight from a sci-fi film, right? But this will soon be a reality at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport Hyderabad!
Hyderabad airport has introduced a facial recognition system under the ‘Digi Yatra’ initiative where fliers can apply for a Digi Yatra ID and then a camera verifies their face and lets them pass through security checks without showing any physical IDs.
Trials for face recognition technology for faster and seamless check-in will soon be open to passengers at the @RGIAHyd. Checking in is going to be easier than ever before. #RGIA #DigiYatra #FirstInIndia #FaceRecognition #TravelSmart @HiHyderabad @ACIAPAC @MoCA_GoI pic.twitter.com/f0NeoMKaSc
— RGIA Hyderabad (@RGIAHyd) June 29, 2019
The airport ran a trial run from 1-3 July where the voluntary facility was made available to people travelling to Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Vizag and Vijayawada. Initially, it was tested out on fliers with hand baggage at the airport entry points.
The Times of India quoted an airport official saying, “As many as 180 passengers voluntarily signed up for FR [facial recognition], though 70% used it on Day 1. The numbers are certain to increase.”
— પ્રવિણ પટેલ (@prav2410) July 1, 2019
He further explained the benefits of the new technology by saying,
“This will eventually be extended to all domestic fliers. It will not only make the process of boarding smoother but also help them save time. At present, CISF staff spend at least half a minute on physically checking every passenger’s ID card.”
“If the pilot is successful, it will be used for security checks as well. Instead of displaying the boarding pass, passengers can just look into the camera to ascertain their credentials. If found genuine, the system will automatically clear their passage towards boarding.”
People have been praising this brilliant move which saves both time and paper but a few concerns have been raised regarding data privacy and potential leaks.
Be assured, that data is safe in our systems and will only be used for this new introduction. Also, this is an optional facility and our manual process will run in parallel. With regard to access, this is only for passengers with carry on luggage as of now. 2/2
— RGIA Hyderabad (@RGIAHyd) July 4, 2019
Once this system is fully functional, it would be so cool, don’t you think?