Eurostar passengers from St Pancras to be able to skip passport checks thanks to facial recognition tech


Eurostar passengers leaving London will be able to avoid manual ticket and passport checks by UK officials through a new facial verification system.

The launch of the technology at St Pancras station is aimed at easing congestion.

To participate, passengers must use an app before travel to scan their identity document and verify their face and ticket.

At the station, they walk in front of a screen and have their face detected.

If they are approved, they can proceed through doors which open automatically.

The SmartCheck system, developed by iProov, is available to Business Premier and Carte Blanche passengers.

Bags will still being scanned by security staff, and border officials in Paris are continuing to check passports.

It emerged earlier this year that Eurostar was being forced to leave hundreds of seats empty on trains to and from London to avoid long queues at stations.

The situation has since improved, but dozens of seats are not being offered for sale on some services.

Enhanced post-Brexit checks carried out by French border officials have significantly increased the time it takes to process passengers at the station.

Eurostar chief executive Gwendoline Cazenave said: “Providing a seamless station experience to our customers is a priority for Eurostar.

“By introducing SmartCheck, we become the first rail travel operator to adopt biometric face verification.

“This innovation will enhance our customer departure journey, which is crucial to provide Eurostar’s unique travel experience.”

Read more:
Eurostar to axe direct trains between London and Disneyland Paris due to Brexit
France vows financial support to ‘maintain strategic Eurostar link’ with UK

Andrew Bud, chief executive of iProov, said: “By creating a biometric corridor, we are moving security checks away from the station, saving precious time and space at the border, streamlining the boarding process to one that’s far faster, more convenient, less crowded and stressful, yet even more secure.”

Heathrow Airport began trialling facial biometric scanners in 2019, but the project was dropped when passenger numbers collapsed due to the coronavirus pandemic.


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