If you’re travelling overseas this summer through Dubai International’s Terminal 3, chances are you will be able to use one of 14 smart gates installed there that will allow you to clear immigration in 20 seconds flat, helping you avoid the hassle of standing in long queues and saving you precious time.
And plans are already afoot to double that number by the end of summer. Which means that by perhaps September, we will have 28 smart gates installed at just the Terminal 3 of Dubai International, while Terminals 1 & 2 at Dubai International Airport, and Al-Maktoum International Airport and Dubai ports are also going to soon see the installation of smart gates.
The smart gate is an automated, secure and convenient self-service alternative to the conventional border control process through immigration officers. The Emirati-built smart gate identifies users through their passports, ID cards or E-Gate cards. It uses facial and eye-recognition technology to identify and verify the user. Once the checks are made, the gate opens automatically for travellers to pass through to baggage reclaim areas.
Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP) and emaratech, a leading technology and consulting company in the Arab World, have signed an agreement to build and install smart gates at Dubai International Airports and upgrade immigration counters to alleviate travellers passport control procedures.
DAEP represents a number of stakeholders in this contract; namely Dubai Airports, Emirates Airlines and General Directorate for Residency and Foreign Affairs. The smart gate puts an end to long queues for travellers with electronically read passports from the 33 pre-approved visa countries, UAE citizens and residences and GCC nationals.
“The smart gates and upgrading immigration counters mark another important milestone in our continuing strategy to fully harness the potential of Dubai’s International Airports and passenger handling capacity,” said Suzanne Al-Anani, CEO of DAEP, in a media statement. Emaratech claims that “travellers using smart gates will be able to complete their passport control procedures in as little as 20 seconds”.
It has been stated that the first phase of the automated iris and face recognition systems will be installed at 100 immigration smart counters and smart gates at Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3.
The systems are being integrated and deployed by emaratech. The new systems will authenticate iris and face images for travellers who enter or leave the UAE through Terminal 3. The technology is expected to dramatically speed passengers through immigration.
The airport plans to expand this system to all four of its terminals and process some 75 million passengers a year through immigration by 2014.
In order to be able to use the service, you’ll need to pre-register (for free) at one of 20 locations identified for the purpose. “Travellers who wish to avoid waiting time at normal immigration counters can register their biometrics and start using the smart gate at no cost,” the company said.
“Twenty locations have been identified to enrol and register travellers to use the smart gate at Terminal 3’s departure halls, Terminals 1 and 3 arrival halls, DNATA office at Sheikh Zayed Road and headquarters of Emirates Airlines and General Directorate for Residency and Foreign Affairs, in addition to immigration arrival counters at Terminal 3, which passengers use to register and enter.”
Immigration counters will be upgraded to have facial and eye recognition systems and to register travellers to use smart gates next time they arrive in Dubai.
“The smart gate is a source of great pride not only for citizens and residents of the UAE but also for all Arabs as it has been engineered and developed by an Emirati company,” said Thani Alzaffin, board member and director-general of emaratech.
“The smart gate is recognized as the most efficient and most advanced around the world from a technical, operational and security integration aspects that ensure the highest standards of safety and security to all passengers. This is what we have delivered to Dubai,” Thani concluded.