Britain plans to install new “intelligent borders”
Britain is set to test facial verification tech that removes the need for passports, but experts have dashed hopes of a full launch this year.
The project was unveiled this week by Phil Douglas, the director-general of the UK’s Border Force. Douglas told The Times that he aims to install new e-gates at airports that create an “intelligent border.” By integrating enhanced facial verification, the system would make physical travel documents unnecessary.
Trials of the tech are expected to start this year. A full rollout, however, remains a more distant prospect.
Andrew Bud, the CEO at British biometric leader iProov, told TNW that facial verification “is not going to replace passports at UK airports in 2024.” Nonetheless, he’s confident that the switch will “certainly come” later.
Despite the challenges, facial verification is becoming more common at borders. Dubai, for instance, recently launched a biometric system that allows travellers to pass through security without using a passport or ID.
Research suggests that most travellers would welcome the tech. According to a 2022 survey by the International Air Transport Association, three-quarters of passengers want to use biometric data instead of passports and boarding passes.