No passport? No worries!
Australian airports are planning to adopt a brand new means of passenger identification – one that could eventually eliminate the necessity of both passports and immigration desks.
The new system, set to launch in 2020, will take advantage of facial and eye recognition as well as fingerprint scan technology to correctly identify a traveller, the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection have announced.
The aim, says Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, is that 90 per cent of arriving passengers will be able to depart an airport seamlessly and automatically within the next three to four years.
"In many cases that will mean people, whilst they'll still have to carry their passport, may not have to present their passport at all in the long term," Mr Dutton told the ABC.
"But in the immediate term, this will make it easier, it will make it quicker, for people going in and out of our airports."
The new “contactless” process goes a step further than the current SmartGate technologies, which matches a traveller’s face with the image stored on their passport’s microchip.
The $78 million improvement is expected to both speed along the immigration process, and boost security.
"Already we know from the money we've invested into biometrics collections that that is a much more reliable collection than we have with people just scanning manually passports," he said.
"So there is the ability through this technology to improve detections of people that might be coming into our country to do the wrong thing."
Canberra Airport is set to roll out the biometric system in July first, with Sydney and Melbourne following suit by March 2019.