Eurostar launches biometric facial recognition trial at London station

Facial recognition - St Pancras International station

The technology is being tested at the St. Pancras International station on passengers traveling to and from Europe.

Eurostar has announced that it is starting the trial of a new biometric facial recognition technology on passengers traveling to and from Europe from St Pancras International station in London.

The tech will provide passengers with the opportunity to use the SmartCheck lane.

Passengers traveling through the station will be able to use the biometric facial recognition system in the SmartCheck lane to complete their pre-departure checks for their ticket and passport. People who choose to use this option will be permitted to board the Eurostar train to continental Europe without having to go through the ID verification procedures.

The system scans people’s faces twice. The first is at the ticket gate, providing the traveler with ticket check verification. The second is at the UK Exit Checkpoint for confirmation that the information on their passport is valid.

Facial recognition tech in use

The facial recognition technology test is meant to help reduce lineups and speed up boarding.

Eurostar hopes to be able to use the biometric tech to reduce or fully eliminate lines and speed up the boarding process as a whole. In this way, it aims to improve customer satisfaction and also minimize viral transmission opportunities. This system will be tested with a limited number of invited passengers and will not have to do with the United Kingdom’s or Schengen entry controls.

Eurostar initially announced its intentions to implement a test of the technology for replacing physical tickets and passport checks back in 2020. The system was built with the help of iProov, which specializes in this biometric technology.

To be able to use this tech at the station, users would visit an online portal to provide their consent and register their information. There, they will also use a smartphone or webcam to take a picture of their face for use by the system to recognize them later.

Once this information and consent is in the facial recognition system, when the individual moves through a physical checkpoint, all they need to do is look at the camera and they are authenticated passively by the system.

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