As contactless check-ins become increasingly popular due to social distancing measures, technology that eliminates person-to-person contact is likely to become the norm even after the COVID-19 pandemic passes. New boarding and border procedures for Eurostar will eliminate the need for passengers to show their passports, instead allowing them to travel using facial recognition technology.
Scheduled for launch in March 2021, the facial recognition system will allow passengers to travel passport-free between the UK, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Upon purchasing Eurostar tickets, passengers will have the option to choose a “pre-boarding” facial recognition option. Then, they will be prompted to upload a photo of themselves and their passport. When arriving at St. Pancras Station in London, the new system will scan your face, compare it to your uploaded photo, and then tie in your ticket and passport details. A kiosk will also be available for those without smartphones.
The project is being spearheaded by the biometrics company iProov, and started off as a project to reduce travel congestion. Given the pandemic, this technology will prove more useful than ever.