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Facial Recognition Will Spot The ‘Lost’ Flyers At Airports


Have you ever been delayed on a flight because of straggling fellow passengers?

That might be an annoyance of the past at Singapore’s Changi airport which is testing facial recognition systems that could, in future, help locate lost travellers or those spending a little too much time in the duty-free shops.

Changi Airport is looking at how it can use the latest technologies to solve many problems — from cutting taxiing time on the runway to quicker predictions of flight arrivals.

Steve Lee, Changi Airport Group’s chief information officer, said that the airport’s experiments are not from a “big brother” perspective but solve real problems. “We have lots of reports of lost passengers...so one possible use case we can think of is, we need to detect and find people who are on the flight. Of course, with permission from the airlines,” said Lee.

Facial recognition technology typically allows users to match the faces of people picked up on cameras with those in databases.

Lee said they have tested technology that could allow for this, and are working with businesses that should have some capability to do this in a year’s time.

Changi’s newest terminal, T4, already uses facial recognition technology to offer self-service options at check-in, bag drop, immigration and boarding. This means there are fewer queues. Luggage is dropped at unmanned booths that take your photo and match it with your passport. You have snapped again at an automated security gate at immigration to verify your identity at the boarding gate.

“Today you take passport, you show your face and you show your boarding pass,” said Lee, adding it may, however, be possible to use biometrics instead.

“Then actually in future, you just take your face. You don’t need your passport,” he said.
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