Facial recognition software is being introduced in airports around the world with major success, having already caught passengers trying to enter the United States illegally. In Shanghai, it’s now being used to as an easier way for passenger check-ins.
Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport has unveiled self-service kiosks using facial recognition for flight and baggage check-in, along with security clearance and boarding. While some are worried about privacy issues with facial recognition technology—as are many here in the United States—Chinese officials see it as a way to strengthen security while making China a global leader of technology. Right now, only holders of Chinese identification cards can take advantage of the software.
Airports across China have been using facial recognition to expedite security lines, but Shanghai’s software is the first to fully automate the check-in process with the technology.
“It is the first time in China to achieve self-service for the whole check-in process,” said Zhang Zheng, general manager of the ground services department for Spring Airlines. Spring is the first airline to adopt the system.
According to Spring, 87 percent of its passengers on a recent Monday used the automatic check-in, taking advantage of what is arguably the biggest pro to facial recognition: time saving.
“It takes 15 seconds on average for passengers without luggage to finish check-in, while the luggage check-in process takes a minute on average,” commented Zhang Zheng.
Will this become the new normal for Chinese passengers? Facial recognition is already being used around the country, where police are using the technology to grab criminals and up its surveillance data. Even schools are hoping to use the software to monitor students, while Macau casinos are looking to install facial recognition technology into their ATMs as a way to curb money laundering.
There’s no word yet on how many more airlines will be participating in the program, or when and if more airports across China will be following suit.