Eurostar begins trial of contactless biometric face recognition fast-track service

Eurostar begins trial of contactless biometric face recognition fast-track service

Business Premier and Carte Blanche clients can scan their documentation by iPhone

A trial by Eurostar of a contactless biometric face recognition fast-track service has gone live.

SmartCheck enables passengers to complete secure ticket verification and UK exit check on their mobile devices prior to travel.

As part of the trial, Business Premier and Carte Blanche ticket holders will be able to scan their identity documentation by iPhone before arriving at the station, completing a biometric face scan to verify that they are the genuine holder of the identity document.

The biometric face verification is then linked to their e-ticket, with confirmation sent to the passenger.

On arrival at St Pancras International station in London, Eurostar passengers proceed through a dedicated SmartCheck lane.

A face scan at the ticket gate verifies that the customer has completed the ticket check, with no sharing of paper or electronic tickets needed.

A second face scan at the UK Exit Check allows Eurostar to verify that the passenger has completed their passport information, again replacing the need for travellers to hand over documentation.

The aim is to eliminate queues and expedite the boarding process to further improve customer satisfaction, especially for frequent travellers.

The concept is being brought to train travel as part of the First of a Kind 2020 competition run by Innovate UK, funded by the Department for Transport.

Andrew Bud, founder and chief executive of technology provider iProov, said: “This secure, convenient and privacy-protecting technology will make life easier and safer for travellers around the world.

“The days of rooting around in your bag for your passport or hoping that your phone battery doesn’t run out before you show your e-ticket at the gate are over. It’s effortless and convenient while also delivering the reassurance and security that travellers expect.”

Eurostar strategy director Gareth Williams said: “Face biometric technology, which we start trialling today, is a fast and contactless solution which will enable secure passenger checks to take place more efficiently and provide a seamless start to the Eurostar customer journey.”