The scrabble to find the right documents at the airport could soon become a lot easier under plans to embed passports into mobile phones. De La Rue, the company that prints the British passports and banknotes, has announced it is hoping to create new digital passports that can be used at immigration. While mobiles have already helped to reduce the jumble of documents needed while travelling by introducing electronic boarding passes, the move could make it an entirely paperless affair. According to the Times, De La Rue is in the early stages of developing digital passports and still has to find ways to make the technology secure enough to be acceptable for governments. It already has a suite of features in it including electronic chips, holograms, invisible ink and watermarks.
The unmanned gates, which will debut in full Monday, will automate passport control for Japanese passengers. Images of passengers' faces will be taken in front of the gates and compared with passport data to confirm their identities. Thirty-one units will be installed at the airport's three terminals this month. The gates will also be introduced at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda), Chubu Centrair International Airport near Nagoya, Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture and Fukuoka Airport. The gates have been tested at Haneda airport since October.
As electronic entry procedures usher arriving passengers more quickly through immigration control at airports around the world, one of the casualties of progress is the time-honored passport stamp. While many travelers welcome the improved efficiency, those who regard passport stamps as souvenirs of their travels are going to miss the memories that an immigration stamp can trigger of the far-off destinations they have visited. "There is a trend to eliminate the passport stamp to shorten processing times, especially in advanced countries," a Japanese airport official said. With air travel growing, airports are looking for ways to prevent congestion, and ditching the tradition is one of the solutions. In Japan, this has seen the use of biometric identification, including facial recognition, emerge as a way to replace passport stamping to track people entering and leaving the country.