The Government of Dubai has made life easier for passengers , as travellers will no longer have to wait in line at security counters or pass through e-gates, but instead walk through a tunnel that scans people’s faces. The virtual aquarium tunnel will scan their face or iris using hidden cameras while they’re in motion.
The tunnel, which will display high-quality images of an aquarium, will be equipped with about 80 cameras set up in every corner and the idea came about after 18 months of brainstorming.
The move is one of several new security measures taken by Dubai aviation officials, such as replacing the explosive detection scanners with new, Chinese-made ones that can detect a wider range of explosive materials.
“The fish is a sort of entertainment and something new for the traveller but, at the end of the day, it attracts the vision of the travellers to different corners in the tunnel for the cameras to capture his/her face print,” said Major Gen Obaid Al Hameeri, Deputy Director General , Dubai Residency and Foreign Affairs.
The virtual images are of very high quality and gives a simulation of a real-life aquarium.”The tunnel display can also be altered to offer other natural settings, such as the desert, or even to display adverts. At the end of the tunnel, if the traveller is already registered, they will either receive a green message that says “have a nice trip” or, if the person is wanted for some reason, a red sign will alert the operations room to interfere.And throughout the tunnel, the passenger does not feel anything, they pass through normally,” Maj Gen Al Hameeri said.
The first of these “virtual borders” will be installed by the end of the summer of 2018 at Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport, the home of Emirates. In phases up until 2020, the tunnels will be rolled out at other Dubai terminals.
While the tunnels will serve all passengers, not only those travelling with Emirates, Maj Gen Al Hameeri said the first phase will be piloted at Emirates’ terminal as it already has the required infrastructure and it is also the official airline and partner.
The idea came about when officials were considering how best to accommodate the continually increasing number of passengers travelling through Dubai airports.
General Civil Aviation figures show that more than 124 million passengers are expected to pass through all Dubai airports by 2020 so “we had to come up with more ways to co-op with the increase. Right now, we have 80 million,” he said.