Face-scanning tunnel expected to replace immigration officers is trialled in Dubai

The system cuts immigration control procedures down to just 15 seconds and removes the need for people to have their passports stamped

Nick Webster takes a look at the airport of the future

Nick Webster takes a look at the airport of the future
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Passengers in Dubai have become the first in the UAE to trial a technology which is expected to replace immigration officers by 2020.

Announced at Gitex last year, the system uses face recognition technology to identify passengers, allowing them to complete immigration procedures in just 15 seconds without having their passport stamped.

Around 20 passengers tried out the new tunnel system on Wednesday.

For now, it's just business and first-class passengers who can use the facilities.

"The smart tunnel was made in the UAE,” said Maj Gen Mohammad Al Merri, director of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.

“We have worked with the idea for four years. The project is aimed at continuing to offer the best in airports, especially in view of the growth in passenger numbers," he said.

Maj Gen Al Merri suggested the system is the first of its kind.

“The traveller can finish his departure procedure without the need to use any travel documents such as passport, ID cards or boarding cards," he said.

More smart projects are in the pipeline to help further improve the travel experience.

In February, it was announced the technology will replace immigration officers by 2020 as part of plans to use artificial intelligence to increase national security.

Abu Dhabi International Airport’s new terminal will be equipped with the smart system, eliminating the need for human immigration officers, said Maj Gen Dr Ahmed Al Raisi, general inspector at the Ministry of Interior.

“People will just be able to walk through and they’ll be scanned,” he said at a press conference to announce the details of the International Exhibition for National Security and Resilience, which was held in March in the capital

“We’re planning to totally eliminate the presence of officers by 2020 hopefully and it will be fully deployed in all the country.”


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