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With face recognition technology, your air travel may soon become paperless

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In an attempt to make journey to the airports paperless and time savvy, facial recognition technology could soon be making its way to the Indian airports. The project is expected to be implemented first at Rajiv Gandhi Hyderabad International Airport on pilot basis.

According to the authorities concerned, the airport is working on a proof of concept for biometric facial recognition, first-of-itskind at any Indian airport. The technology would require onetime biometric registration of the user, after which the approved user can access the airport terminal simply by looking at the camera positioned at checkpoints across the terminal entry gates.

The Hyderabad International Airport has a capacity of 18 million, with an expected increase of 15 per cent traffic. In the coming days, there would be less checkins at site and more remote check-ins.

“Hyderabad being a mid-sized airport is in a sweet spot as far as testing of new and innovative technologies and processes is concerned. A solution piloted at Hyderabad can be easily scaled and replicated at both larger as well as smaller airports across the country. This is something we have achieved successfully in our earlier efforts in areas such as Eboarding and elimination of Hand Baggage Stamping,” said SGK Kishore, CEO, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL).

“In the coming days, we will be rolling out a pilot project to enable completely paperless travel through our airport, using the biometric identification of a passenger to replace both the ticket as well as the boarding card. As we embark on the expansion of the airport, our vision is to make the upgraded and expanded Hyderabad Airport into the first fully tech-enabled Smart Airport in the country,” he added.

Kishore told MAIL TODAY that the focus is on reducing the on-site activity at the terminals and on the use of biometric.

“Currently, at most of the airports, we print the ticket and stamp it. GHAIL is trying to ensure that the entire travelling experience becomes paperless. Dubai and Shanghai airport terminals use the biometrics prominently and they are introducing more and more technology. India is at the forefront of IT technology, but airport is one place which is not really tech savvy.”

“We are trying to make airports IT-enabled services. We run pilot project with one or two airlines and then bring in government agencies and make them familiarise with the technology and then scale up the use which were later replicated to other airports of the country,” he said.

Advocate and cyber expert Prashant Mali told MAIL TODAY that while there could be several advantages, the technology may come with a few cons as well.

“The advantages would include an easy passing at the airports. travelling through airports would be identified and help passengers enter the airport with less waiting time. It could also keep a check on illegal movement and criminal activities,” said Mali

He, however, warned: “If the airport management links Aadhaar to it, it would be easy for the government to track the movements of the passengers, which may amount to violation of privacy. Also, if the tracker system is accessed by the hackers or terror outfits, it may lead to security issues.”

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