Multibiometric Security Systems Descend at Spanish Airports

Spain has installed multibiometric electronic access kiosks in two of its largest airports. The technology provides an efficient and secure way to speed up the passport control process for European citizens.

The installed systems facilitate the rapid entry into national territory, and therefore the Schengen common European area, to travelers who own a Spanish electronic ID card or a European Community electronic passport. All citizens of the European Union countries, the European Economic Area and Switzerland are eligible to use this system.

The two largest airports in Spain are also two of the largest in Europe. Barajas Airport in Madrid and the Barcelona Airport are consistently listed in the top ten of Europe's busiest airports by passenger volume. The high volume airport traffic combined with a need for the efficient and accurate identification of passengers as a part of border control security led to the exploration of multibiometric verification at electronic access points.

Indra, the Spanish information technology company, was awarded the implementation by Spain's Ministry of the Interior. Indra selected Neurotechnology multibiometric engines for the airport access-control kiosks. Beginning with initial installations in May 2010, the main goal of benchmarking the multibiometric-based system is to assess the best configuration that will finally be implemented in all international Spanish airports.

The solution developed by Indra allows citizens, after being identified in a kiosk, to perform a quick and simple procedure that includes the automatic reading of the electronic document and validation of its authenticity. The passenger is at the same time indentified and matched to their document through biometric recognition and verification. Upon completion of this process the traveler is issued an entry permit. Each individual process is supervised by officials of the National Police.

While similar systems have been established in other countries using a single biometric feature, such as the iris, fingerprint or face to verify the passenger identity, the Spanish system performs a more secure dual-biometric test using facial and fingerprint recognition. It is for this multibiometric verification that Indra has chosen the Neurotechnology product line.

No prior passenger registration is required to use this system, the biometric information present in the document is sufficient. This is the only automated system in Europe that enables the use of the national electronic ID card to enter the Schengen area.

Indra has developed two different systems and has each installed at both Barajas and El Prat airports. Each system at both airports utilizes face and fingerprint biometric engines from Neurotechnology as key components of the identification process.

The first system consists of a set of double-door lock gates, with identification kiosks inside. In this setup travelers access the lock gate through the first door, proceed with the identification inside and access the airport terminal through the second door that opens automatically after positive verification of the citizen's identity. The facial recognition engine is used for face matching, as all passports include an individual's facial image.

In the second system the kiosks are separate from the access gates. The passenger identification takes place in any available kiosk. In both gate configurations officials of the National Police monitor the process and resolve any issues that arise.

Any European citizen with an electronic passport, or a Spanish citizen with an electronic ID card, will be able to avoid entry queues at passport checkpoints. The solution also alleviates some of the National Police workload by reducing the number of passengers who require a manual control check.
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