Passengers will have their eyes scanned as soon as they check in as part of a new trial a major UK airport.
High-tech machines that can recognise an individual’s iris as they walk around will be installed at Manchester Airport at check in during the government-backed pilot.
The technology has the potential to overhaul security and customs, with airport bosses hoping it could help in the fight against terrorism.
Passengers who agree to take part will have their iris scanned at check in and it will then be used to identify them as they enter the security search area when it is scanned again.
Volunteers for the scheme are asked to walk through a demonstration scanner, at the end of a 5 metre-long walkway, at a normal pace.
As they emerge at the other side the passengers can then see on screen whether they have been correctly identified. The firm behind the technology, Human Recognition Systems, say the early results have been ‘very positive’ in terms of accuracy.
The move to track passengers around an airport is the latest use of technology by Manchester Airport bosses to speed up its security procedures.
Earlier this year the airport sparked controversy after it introduced the UK’s first full-body scanners at its security gates.
The airport already uses e-gates – which scan the eyes of arriving passengers travelling with new ‘chipped’ passports – but unlike these machines, the new devices can recognise the iris on the move.
The iris recognition technology could also be used to allow international transfer passengers to mix with domestic travellers in the departure lounge because they would be securely identified before boarding their flight.
A spokesman for the airport said it would speed up the process as the machines could potentially be installed on a corridor and the passenger would not even need to stop to undergo the check.
The trial will last for two weeks starting from today in Terminal One.
Airport bosses have stressed it will not currently replace any step of the security process and passengers can refuse to take part in the pilot.
‘We are always keen to develop innovative technology solutions to improve our passengers’ experience of the airport’, said Mike Fazackerley, Manchester Airport’s product director.
‘People are already familiar with the concept of iris recognition. This technology has the potential for a number of uses in a busy airport environment including security because it can recognise individuals when they are moving around.
‘Although it is in its very early stages of development, using this technology for transfer passengers could make Manchester more attractive to airlines as a hub airport in the future.’
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 10:30 AM on 16th November 2010
Source: Daily Mail