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Could AI Biometrics Make Travel More Pleasurable?

New biometric developments aim to smooth airport navigation and airline boarding experiences

As airports across the globe invest in a range of smart technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and biometrics, Acuity Market Intelligence considers this the preliminary stage of a far-reaching commitment to transform the inevitable hassles and inconveniences of airport travel into delightful passenger experiences.

Acuity forecasts that the total number of airport biometric touchpoints – increasingly AI enhanced facial recognition — at check-in, bag drop, security, and boarding gates will increase at a 27% CAGR through 2022.

“As airport AI-enhanced biometrics become mainstream, so too will consumer comfort and preference for the convenience of the experience,” explained Maxine Most, Principal at Acuity Market Intelligence. “This will change passenger expectations and drive demand for similar solutions within airports and across the entire travel sector from cruise ships and car rentals to train stations and ferry terminals.”

According to recent reports:

• Narita Airport plans to be the first in the world to allow passengers to board using facial biometrics without pausing for identification in additional to using facial biometrics for check in, bag drop

• AirAsia is piloting facial recognition for boarding flights at Johor’s Senai Airport and has plans to continue rolling it out in Malaysia airports this year.

• Hong Kong Airport plans to launch a facial recognition based, single token identity system by early 2020.

Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson, London’s Heathrow, and Shanghai’s Hongqiao airports have also announced biometric facial recognition deployments aimed at improving the passenger experience while expediting the passenger journey. Forecasts looking at global market for “Curb to Gate” Biometric Airport Automation project the technology will generate $1.3 billion in revenue over the next five years as more than 16,300 eGates and kiosks are deployed for automated check-in, auto bag drop, passport control, security checkpoints, and boarding by 2022.

“Biometrics in the airport is no longer just about border control,” adds Most. “As global digital transformation creates expectations for frictionless experience, adoption of biometric automation at airports is moving beyond secure, facilitation towards enhanced passenger journeys. The age of seamless travel is here.”

“Europe will continue to dominate the Automated Biometric Facilitation market during the 2018 to 2022 forecast period, accounting for nearly 30% of total units deployed and generating more than 34% of all revenues,” Most said. “However, rapid growth in Asia will shift market dynamics to near total Asian market domination by 2028 or 2030.”