AUTO BORDER: Drivers and passengers interact with the contactless system from inside their vehicles

Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) is trialling a contactless biometric immigration clearance system that enables travellers arriving in the country from Malaysia by car to scan their passport and verify their identity with a face and iris scan without needing to leave their vehicle.

The ICA is testing an automated passenger in-car clearance system (APICS) that integrates contactless biometric scanners, sensors and cameras into a “self-help kiosk” that detects the size of each vehicle as it approaches and automatically adjusts the height of its scanning devices so that the driver and passengers can interact with them while remaining in the car.

Once in the automated contactless lane, the driver scans the passports of all those travelling in the vehicle with the kiosk’s passport scanner before each traveller is prompted to look towards different cameras that simultaneously scan their face and iris. The kiosk barrier opens automatically when the identities of all those in the car are authenticated.

A short video shows how the system works.

“The way APICS works is similar to the current biometric immigration clearance at the airport,” says the Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) that developed the system based on earlier technology trialled in 2017.

“The earlier iteration of the APICS prototype featured robotic arms that were used to bring wireless biometric devices (for fingerprints and face) to the driver and passengers in the vehicle. Findings from that trial suggested that self-clearance of travellers in vehicles was feasible,” HTX adds.

“Facial and iris scanning technology have since advanced, and iris patterns and facial features have replaced fingerprints as the primary biometric identifier for immigration clearance. The use of contactless facial and iris scanners instead of contact-based devices provides a more convenient, hygienic and efficient immigration clearance process.”

The APICS pilot will run at the Old Woodlands Checkpoint in Singapore until October 2022

Singapore trials in-car contactless biometric border checks was written by Tom Phillips and published by NFCW.

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