The Future is Now for Airport Entry Automation
The efficiency of parking, passenger flow and cargo management at airports is greatly enhanced by automatic systems that process human and vehicle traffic faster than live staff does. Digitizing and processing the incoming data with proper software and hardware is important to automate airport traffic while maintaining the high level of security demands.
According to the air travel industry’s association, IATA, more than eight million people fly every single day throughout the globe. This number represents the entire population of New York City entering and exiting the world’s airports in any 24 hour period. In 2013 the first time ever the total number of flying passengers surpassed three billion and it is expected to grow in 2014.
These are staggering numbers and not only when considering the total sum of traveling public but also their effect on vehicle traffic and on the related infrastructure while getting to and from various airports. Just one hub—LAX, which is the world’s fourth busiest—provides 22 thousand parking spaces for the vehicles of private passengers alone. Managing such a magnitude of vehicle and traveler movement is a major challenge for the operators and automating the traffic flow as much as possible is vital for improving efficiency.
One of the early adopters of automatic parking entry management was ARH when it installed a system at the Budapest International Airport’s parking complex in 1994. The unique feature of this system was its client-based SQL server that allowed almost limitless daily entries even while operating multiple gates. Already back then, the fast, reliable ANPR software and dedicated cameras allowed quick entrances to the parking areas and also assisted in fast payment calculations upon exiting the site.
Later variants of the system in other parts of the world improved the OCR capability with its—now well-known—CARMEN® software by being able to read and log not just any type of vehicle license plate in the world but also shipping container’s ACCR codes and even aircraft registrations, opening whole new possibilities for transportation management automation at any airport. Considering that according to AITA’s statistics 35% of all cargo (about 140 thousand tons daily) is now moved by air, their management is just as much of a challenge as passenger traffic.
In 2014 ARH returned to Budapest Airport under the aegis of a European Union initiative to make exiting the Schengen Zone faster and generally trouble-free. The company’s proposed and later realized solution was a combination of passport reading kiosks placed at various locations of the airport’s terminal and an automatic exit gate next to the border control stations. The entire system was opened for public use on May 2014.
The beauty of this self-check-in system that anybody traveling with a carry-on luggage can exit the European economic zone without waiting to be let through by a border agent as done traditionally at other border crossings. In fact, the entire process is relatively simple: after passing through airport security, travelers can register at any of the several e-passport kiosks with their document in the airport terminal. The only stipulation to be able to register is that the passport must be a newer type ePassport that contains its owner’s fingerprints in digital format in the document’s RFID.
After scanning the passport and selecting the next destination to fly to, travelers are enrolled at the airport’s border control system for three consequent hours. When a passenger decides to head to a designated gate to board a plane, they won’t have to go through border control to exit, but instead able to pass through the e-passport gate by scanning their thumbprint already registered in the system.
The built-in security features and various sensors of the e-gate prohibit people to pass through who are sought by any law enforcement, attempting to use fraudulent identification or trying to get through with another person. The registration kiosks also have their own fast but reliable document verification characteristics; they authenticate all visible, invisible, electronic and encrypted security features of travel documents.
With the equivalent to 44% of the world’s population and about 50 million tons of cargo flying in a given year around the world, finding the most efficient systems for airports and their serving infrastructure is essential for the future of commercial aviation. ARH is doing its part to join this effort by providing the best passenger, cargo and vehicle traffic management hardware, software and intelligent system components.