Singapore trials Tascent face and iris biometrics at Malaysia border checkpoint

Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) is operating a six-month trial of biometric facial recognition and iris scanning for automated immigration clearance lanes at the Tuas Checkpoint, which connects the island nation to Malaysia for land crossings, The Straits Times reports.

In a video demonstration of the system by The Straits Times, the contactless biometric capture device can be clearly seen to be supplied by Tascent.

The new system replaces a multi-biometric facial authentication and thumbprint recognition system which has been used since 2017, according to the report. The test began in April, with the aim of improving accuracy and efficiency, and traveler processing times have reportedly been reduced to less than a minute.

“This clearance process will definitely be faster and bring convenience to travelers, as there is no need to present and scan passports,” ICA Superintendent in charge of operations development Derrick Soong told the Times.

Singapore has been reported to be considering iris biometrics for two checkpoints along the border with Malaysia and a ferry terminal serving travelers to and from Indonesia since last August, and Soong says the ICA already has a “sizeable database” of enrolled iris images collected from Singaporeans since 2017. Those above the age of 6, with passports issued since January 1, 2018, and their iris biometrics already enrolled are eligible to participate in the trial. Soong also says that travelers attempting to use the trial system should be sure not to wear contact lenses or accessories that may block parts of their faces.

The trial will test the system’s robustness, as well as any effects of ambient lighting on biometric performance. If successful, the system will be deployed to all gates at the checkpoint.

Singapore’s Changi Airport deployed a facial biometric system from IDEMIA for end-to-end passenger identity checks in 2017.

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