As part of the DXB Plus programme that aims to increase its capacity, Dubai airport has presented two intelligent and connected innovations at the Gitex 2017: a security tunnel with facial recognition, and a self-driving Tesla that will be used as an airport shuttle.
The annual number of travellers passing through Dubai airport is set to rise from 83.6 million in 2016 to 118 million by 2025. In order to ease the flow of traffic and improve the user experience in the run-up to the Expo 2020, Dubai Airports introduced two futuristic projects whose aim is to turn the airport into a connected and intelligent hub, as part of its DXB Plus programme. These two innovative solutions were presented at the Gitex 2017, in the pavilion of the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).
Boarding through a biometric tunnel
Thanks to this future tunnel, which will be equipped with no fewer than 80 biometric cameras, passengers will no longer need to present their passport or identity card, which should make boarding quicker. A first type of camera will scan their irises at the entrance to the tunnel, then a second type of camera will scan their face once inside.
“These two steps, the eye scan and facial recognition, enable us to prove that it is the same person,” explains a spokesperson for the GDRFA. Sensors will also be set up at ground level to stop passengers from turning back, thus making the checking system more secure. The tunnel will be lit up in red, then will turn green once the checks have been carried out. Finally, at the end of the tunnel, a display panel will wish the passenger a safe trip, or ask them to proceed to further checks.
The process will only take 15 seconds in all, making boarding much more fluid. More advanced tests of this prototype are already being planned, in partnership with Emirates Airlines in terminal 3, though only for passengers residing in Dubai. No detailed schedule has been announced as yet, but all of the other terminals should be equipped with this system by 2020.
A self-driving Tesla to take you to the airport
Dubai Airport’s second futuristic project, developed in partnership with Emirates and Dell EMC, will be a self-driving, connected Tesla shuttle to take passengers from their home to the airport. “Covered in sensors, the car collects the passenger’s flight information, calculates the weight of their luggage and delivers their boarding card,” says the GDRFA spokesperson, and all thanks to a simple smartphone. At the airport, the luggage is passed over to an intelligent luggage-handling system, so all the passenger needs to do is go through the smart tunnel and board their plane.
A Modular Data Centre Complex (MDCC) is also being studied to absorb this exponential quantity of data. These innovations demonstrate the Dubai government’s desire to prove that their country, which is renowned for its luxury, is also interested in technological developments.
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