Schiphol investigates facial recognition

Schiphol started a trial with facial recognition on Saturday (January 7). The aim is to see if this technology can help in the flow of passengers to the right gate. Schiphol already has experience with facial recognition. For example, electronic passport control, which has been in use since 2012, has been used

Schiphol started a trial with facial recognition on Saturday (January 7). The aim is to see if this technology can help in the flow of passengers to the right gate.

Schiphol already has experience with facial recognition. For example, electronic passport control, which has been in use since 2012, has been used. The face recognition software compares the traveler standing in front of the scanner with his passport photo. In addition, Schiphol is involved in the Happy Flow project in Aruba, together with KLM and the Marechaussee. Passengers only have to show their passports once. The digital photo stored on a chip in the passport is read and afterwards they can go through the airport process from check-in to boarding on the basis of facial recognition. They do not have to show a boarding pass anymore.

More than 120 countries have electronic passports with biometric functionalities. The EU has issued this passport since 2006. In 2018, 3.5 billion citizens will have e-travel documents. At the same time, according to industry association IATA, in 2034 7 billion people will travel by plane, a doubling compared to 2015. This puts pressure on the airports and underlines the need for a smoother process.

The Norwegian Technological University in Gjøvik is therefore working on behalf of the EU on facial recognition algorithms that are more reliable and accurate in detecting and tracking passengers at the airport. The main problem is 'face spoofing' - the falsification of data. The algorithm must therefore be able to see whether a face is 'real' or whether it is a print or display image, for example because someone is holding a photo or an iPad in front of the scanner.

Schiphol is not the only airport that investigates the possibilities of biometrics. Changi Airport in Singapore starts this year with biometric facial recognition in terminal 4, which has a capacity of 16 million passengers per year. The control system covers the entire process, from the self-service baggage issue and the border control to the self-service entry procedure at the gate.