On Monday, a beta version of a facial recognition system was rolled out at international airports in Delhi and Bangalore, giving passengers a preview of things to come at Indian airports. Relevant authorities have been pushing to implement digital technology to ease congestion at Indian airports, and Monday’s rollout is a step in that direction.
On August 15, India’s 75th Independence Day, authorities rolled out a beta version of a contactless passenger processing system at Delhi and Bangalore airports called DigiYatra (meaning digital travel).
The system allows domestic passengers passing through these two places to pass through different airport checkpoints without any paperwork. The feature is currently available to Vistara and AirAsia India (both Tata Group airlines) passengers, with electronic boarding systems and gates made operational at both airports.
The new system will eventually be extended to all national carriers gradually.
The facility is currently used by Vistara and AirAsia India. Photo: Airbus
How will this work?
To use this facility, passengers must download the DigiYatra app, which at the moment is only available on Android phones, with an iOS version expected to be released soon. Passengers will need to check in using their Adhaar card credentials – a unique identification number that stores a person’s fingerprints and iris scans.
Other details, such as vaccine certificates, will also need to be uploaded. Upon entering the airport, passengers must scan their boarding pass at the electronic gate. A camera installed there will also scan the person’s face, and this method will be repeated at various checkpoints throughout the airport. According to the DigiYatra Foundation (which runs the project), passenger data will be deleted 24 hours after their trip.
This is the beta version of DigiYatra, and the technology will gradually become available on a large scale over the next few months in various other airports. By March next year, the technology is expected to reach several more locations including Pune, Kolkata and Hyderabad.
A joint effort
The discussion around the use of biometrics in India is not new. In 2016, the Ministry of Civil Aviation conducted a pilot project at Hyderabad Airport using biometric identification to allow entry into the terminal.
A growing number of airports around the world are implementing the use of technology to speed up operations. Photo: SITA
The DigiYatra Foundation is a joint venture with the Airports Authority of India holding a 26% stake, and the remaining 74% is held equally by Bengaluru Airport, Delhi Airport, Delhi Airport, ‘Hyderabad, Mumbai Airport and Cochin International Airport.
According to The Indian Express, the advisory committee of the Ministry of Civil Aviation met last month to discuss the DigiYatra project. The DigiYatra Foundation will be responsible for regularly auditing the system and issuing guidelines for all airports to follow for the proper implementation of the project.
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Source: The Indian Express