Ever had trouble recognizing your luggage at the airport? Well, soon your luggage will be able to recognize you—in a way—with Delta Air Lines’ self-service bag drop system that uses facial-recognition technology to identify travelers.
Delta this summer will install four self-service bag-drop machines at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport at a cost of $600,000. The deployment will allow Delta to test the machines, which it says will allow customers to quickly, securely and easily check their own bags.
One of the devices will be equipped with facial-recognition technology that can match passengers’ faces with their passport photos. This automatic identification system eliminates the need for travelers to show their ID during luggage check in. Delta claims this is the first time such a system has been deployed by a U.S. carrier.
“We expect this investment and new process to save customers time,” said Gareth Joyce, Delta’s senior vice president, Airport Customer Service and Cargo, a press-release quote. “And, since customers can operate the biometric-based bag drop machine independently, we see a future where Delta agents will be freed up to seek out travelers and deliver more proactive and thoughtful customer service.”
The automated facial-recognition bag-drop machine complements Delta’s launch of a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) bag tag system. The system can track the progress of a piece of luggage throughout its journey. The system also allows customers to follow their bag using a mobile app.
The bag-drop and tracking systems are just some of Delta’s technology initiatives designed to streamline passengers’ journeys through airports. The airline has also collaborated with the Transportation Security Administration to roll out automated screening lanes at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Delta’s initiatives are part of a trend in the airline industry to make increased use of facial-recognition technology for surveillance and convenience uses.
Major Canadian airports are adopting self-service kiosks that employ facial-recognition technology to streamline the process of clearing travelers entering the country, according to an article in CBC. The first Primary Inspection Kiosk (PIK) kiosks are being installed at Ottawa International Airport this spring.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has launched the 1:1 Facial Comparison Project. The DHS program authenticates traveler identity using a combination of e-Passports and facial-recognition technology. Each e-Passport integrates a microchip that contains biometric information about its owner, including an image of his or her face.
When travelers arrive at airport checkpoints, photos are taken of their faces. Facial-recognition technology at the checkpoint then compares this photo with e-Passport image to verify their identities.