Imagine strolling into an airport, scanning your passport and face and then boarding an airplane without ever having to deal with a member of airport staff. This is what one company is hoping to make the future look like.
Portugal-based firm Vision-Box is trialing technology that will eventually make the journey from entering the airport to boarding the aircraft automated.
Its product, called Happy Flow, is a series of checkpoints that work by recognizing a passengers face. A user first checks in using their boarding pass and passport. The software then saves the person’s details. Next the passenger can check in their bags solely by a camera scanning their face. The same process happens at border control and boarding the aircraft too. Once the passport and face are scanned in tandem at the beginning, the rest of the checkpoints through the airport only require a person’s face to be scanned.
“The basic idea for the passenger is to create a seamless passive experience. You know we take too much time, it’s too stressful today to get on time on the airline. People really stress out at the airport…and we think that’s not good anymore,” Miguel Leitmann, CEO of Vision-Box, chief executive of Vision-Box, told CNBC in a TV interview on Friday.
“We thought let’s take the same technology and build it in a way that we can start your process which you have to deal with much area. So you can do a biometric check in, a biometric baggage drop, a biometric check point, even biometric boarding, just by looking at the camera.”
Last year, Vision-Box began a trial of its Happy Flow system in the Queen Beatrix International Airport in Aruba. Already there are some so-called “e-gates” at airports such as London’s Heathrow where passengers can scan passports and their face to exit when they arrive. But Happy Flow’s system is designed to automate the whole process in the airport.
The idea, according to Leitmann, is for airports to become more efficient. Happy Flow can automate 90 percent of the cases so staff can focus on the 10 percent where there are issues or problems.
“It’s not about reducing costs. It’s about using the existing infrastructure…and focus on the exceptions, so you automatically deal with 90 percent for the passengers in an automatic way and you can increase the security and efficiency,” told CNBC.