Facial Recognition trials at Delhi Airport with Vistara / Vision Box

With the enabling guidelines for facial recognition in Indian aviation coming through, many airports and airlines have started working on getting into trials for enabling facial recognition integrated into their processes. The rush is because it will immediately allow the airports and the airlines to reduce the burden on their staff and hence allow planes to turn around faster.

Hyderabad Airport and Bangalore Airport have already conducted trials in the past couple of months to this effect. Here is my personal experience with the Hyderabad Facial Recognition trials.

Now, it is the turn of Delhi Airport to commence trials for facial recognition. On September 6, and onwards, passengers of Vistara, will be able to use facial recognition on a voluntary basis, and use their face as a boarding pass through the entire process. Passengers entry at Delhi Terminal 3 would be automatically processed based on facial recognition system at all checkpoints including airport entry, entry to security checks, and aircraft boarding.

Here is how the Delhi Airport Facial Recognition Trial goes. You enrol with a government identificiation proof such as your passport, PAN card or Aadhaar Card at a kiosk outside the airport. The CISF will validate the proof and then you will be able to use your face to go through the process of security check as well as boarding.

The passengers, on arrival at the entry gate of the airport terminal, will scan their boarding passes/ e-tickets at the gate, which is fitted with facial recognition cameras. This will make the link between the face and the boarding pass it represents. The e-gates will open automatically after the facial recognition process is completed and passenger can head to the the check-in. Subsequently, passengers can head to security screening, where they will be allowed to go through the process after a facial scan.

After the security screening, passengers can board flights through the dedicated boarding e-gates. These gates will open automatically after the camera recognises the passenger’s face.

This is how the kiosk looked at Hyderabad, and I’m sure you can spot it at Delhi as well.

The difference between Hyderabad and Delhi Airport is the technology being employed. While Hyderabad was using the NEC technology, Delhi Airport is using Vision Box’s One-ID biometric platform technology, which is integrated to an extent with Vistara’s Departure Control System. Even at Bangalore Airport, Vision Box was the technology service provider for facial recognition trials.

Delhi Airport Facial Recognition

During the trial period, the biometric details will be stored temporarily only to enable the departure process. As soon as the flight departs, the data of the registered passengers will be deleted. There will be no storage of the biometric details by the Airport.

While the Bengaluru trials were valid for a single flight, I am not sure how many flights get these trials at the moment. Also, they will stop at some point in time, given the carpets under the gates have to go away as well. Update: The trials will go on for three months, through November 2019.

What do you make of facial recognition for your airport experience. Do you like it or hate it?

Comments

  1. It has already stopped working. I flew from Delhi to BLR on Vistara yesterday (8th Sept) and I was looking out for the Vision Box counter outside the gates. Found the counter eventually, with all the vision box team drinking soda and message displaying “Out of order” on the screen 😛

    At Bangalore airport, when I was flying to Delhi on Vistara (6th September-RetroJet), the vision box was not in use either

  2. The only issue I see with this is how safe will the data taken will be? Will it be shared with other government agencies without the consent of the passengers? Are the servers where these are stored be inaccesible to hackers? i understand in this wifi connected world, problems with hackers cannot be completely done with. But like the aadhar fiasco, where details were not safe, will this also become one of those white elephants where govts invest billions and nothing becomes of it?

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