The Automated Border Control System, the electronic border crossing gates or e-gates, at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, has processed nearly 1 million passengers and is on target to reach that milestone in December, according to an announcement released today at the Biometrics 2012 conference in London. The e-gates, which were deployed in March 2012, were developed by Accenture and Vision-Box for the Netherlands Ministry of Internal Affairs and have reduced transit times for passengers at the airport while maintaining border security by more efficiently validating passenger identities and travel documentation.
The 36 e-gates at Schiphol, one of the world’s busiest airports, process passengers through the border in just eight seconds, on average, (from placing a passport on the scanner until the exit doors open); in fact, the fastest processing time recorded was under four seconds. Additionally, 65 percent of passengers do not have to queue to enter an e-gate and 97 percent wait less than four minutes to enter a gate during peak times.
“By introducing automated border control so that we can operate a self-service passport system, we have improved the traveler experience at Schiphol but also gained new efficiencies,” said Kier-co Gerritsen of the Dutch Ministry of the Interior.
The e-gates are equipped with facial recognition technology to validate passenger identities and process passenger information before admitting them through the border. They also alert border officers when “persons of interest,” who may be on the watch lists of national border agencies and international security organizations, enter the gates.
“With continuing growth in international travel volumes and increasingly complex documentation and visa requirements, there is a greater need than ever to verify passengers’ identities using new technologies that are supported by efficient human processes,” said Mark Crego, who leads Accenture’s Border and Identity Management business. “Accenture is working with border management agencies around the world to deliver solutions that facilitate the efficient movement of people and goods while, at the same time, increase border security and protect travelers.”
To use the e-gates, passengers must hold a biometric passport, which contains a contactless chip, that has been issued by a member state of the European Union or the European Economic Region (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland). Rather than having their passports manually checked, travelers enter an e-gate and place their passport on an automated device that reads and authenticates it. Once the identity of a passenger has been validated with a biometric face match and a background check has been done by the Dutch government, he or she can proceed to flight departure areas.
The physical gates were supplied and installed by Vision-Box, a Portuguese company that specializes in Automated Border Control systems. The software was developed in a collaboration between Accenture and Vision-Box. Accenture designed the process for travelers at the gates and created the interface that communicates with border agencies so they can monitor passengers and cross-check them against their watch lists. Accenture is responsible for overall project management and ongoing monitoring and training.
Accenture and Vision-Box have successfully implemented similar programs across Europe to facilitate border crossings of large numbers of travelers in an efficient and customer-oriented manner.