Australia has launched a project that it hopes by 2020 will see 90 percent of air and sea travelers pass through passport control without the need for human passport control staff. The government is requesting bids from companies who can provide biometric systems for the new “Seamless Traveller” program, which has a budget in the region of $100 million.
Australia currently employs “SmartGates” at several airports, but the new plan is expected to go much further, with facial, fingerprint, and or iris biometrics set to replace manual checks on passports and document cards on a massive scale. The SmartGates, which have been in service for around 10 years, would also be replaced by the new system.
Canberra Airport is expected to be the test bed for the first Seamless Traveller pilot program as early as July, with a larger airport such as Sydney or Melbourne scheduled to participate in November.