Manchester Airport’s passengers will be invited to participate in a new technology trial that can recognise an individual’s iris while they walk around.
Developed by Human Recognition Systems, the “Biometrics In Motion” trial will last for two weeks starting from today in Terminal 1. Passengers register after check in so that their iris can be used to identify them as they enter the security search area.
The technology could have a variety of future applications to speed up the identification of passengers. Just one example might be to allow international transfer passengers to mix with domestic passengers in the departure lounge because they can be securely identified before boarding their flight.
Currently, arriving passengers from overseas who are connecting to another international flight in Manchester remain separated from domestic passengers to protect the integrity of UK border security.
“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.”
The airport already uses iris recognition technology to manage staff access into sensitive areas of the airport. Immigration authorities also use it for pre-registered people arriving back into the UK. However, the current system requires users to look directly into a device that uses photo recognition software to authenticate individuals.
“Biometrics In Motion” represents a significant step forward because it is able to “see” an individual’s iris whilst they are moving.
“At HRS we are constantly testing the boundaries of technology and this innovation represents the very leading edge in enabling a passenger to quickly and conveniently prove their identity”, said Lee Hannis of Human Recognition Systems. “Our experience of working with airports to date tells us that the technology is only one part of making this a success, that’s why we are excited by the opportunity to understand how the system will perform in a real airport environment.”
Like other iris recognition systems, on registering “Biometrics In Motion” takes a photograph of an eye and because every person’s iris is different, the image can later be used to confirm an individual’s identity.
“Biometrics In Motion” is one of several trials currently taking place at airports across the UK. This is part of a Government programme called Innovative Science and Technology IN Counter-Terrorism, or “INSTINCT”. INSTINCT is run by the Home Office and looks to identify and trial innovative counter-terrorism technologies, solutions or ideas. This part of the programme, known as the Technology Demonstrator 2, focuses specifically on ideas that could enhance aviation security, while also improving passenger experience. Industry and academia were invited in October to submit technologies, processes and ideas for evaluation by an independent panel. Human Recognition Systems’ “Biometrics In Motion” was chosen for testing at Manchester Airport.
Following the trials, there will be an event in early December, which will showcase the results to Ministers, and domestic and international VIPs from industry to understand whether they offer practicable solutions in counter-terrorism.
Manchester Airport and Human Recognition Systems will be operating the trial between 15 and 26 November 2010 in Terminal 1.
Source: Manchester Airport