Facial recognition is central to the future of personal identification in air travel.

In recent years, facial recognition has broken through into the mainstream of public consciousness and acceptance thanks to large-scale deployments at high-profile international airports. Automation of security procedures not only positively impacts accuracy; it also frees up personnel so they can put greater attention to the experiential elements of airports. And as numbers grow, this is an opportunity that cannot be underestimated.

A recognised pioneer in this area, we have both the experience and expertise to support airports and airlines looking to exploit the benefits of AI-powered facial recognition to improve security and enhance passenger satisfaction.

The Aurora-AI Approach

Our approach to facial recognition is defined by accuracy, robustness and speed.

These are the hallmarks of our large-scale deployments at London Heathrow and Manchester Airports, which use specialist, near-infrared (IR) sensors combined with our AI based facial recognition software.

IR imaging avoids many of the issues associated with visible light (CCTV) imaging systems, where problems are caused by variations in ambient lighting. IR image capture is consistent in all conditions without the need for additional lighting and has facilitated mandatory, rather than purely optional use for passengers.

For complete flexibility, our technology can also offer IR-to-Colour & Colour-to-Colour matching, using images derived from passports or third-party databases.

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Our Face Recognition Solutions

As passenger numbers continue to rise, customer satisfaction cannot be compromised. The increase in volume must not create growing frustration caused by longer security delays. Widespread acceptance of facial recognition as a tool for the air industry is the optimal solution.

Other technologies, such as fingerprint readers have been seen to bring about delays – as passengers struggle to apply the correct finger in the correct fashion, divesting themselves of paperwork, bags and gloves – facial recognition simply requires them to look.

Our systems are non-contact so won’t contribute to any contamination and require minimum passenger interaction to capture a high-quality image for enrolment or comparison. They will enable processing of every person, at every touchpoint, at all times of the day.


One to one (1:1) verification and one to many (1:n) of passengers, for border control and security

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Identification of passengers during security checks to trigger enhanced security protocols

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Discreet face recognition based method of measuring passenger transit time

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Infrared (IR) cameras used to acquire high-quality, light immune images for third party matching systems

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Facial Recognition in Aviation

Aurora-AI facial recognition has many potential applications within airports, and we work with a diverse community of system integrators, equipment manufacturers and end users, adding a biometric layer to existing processes to enhance performance.

Our facial recognition has enabled “self-boarding” of aircraft by integrating with security lanes and checking a passenger’s identity against a boarding card or passport, ensuring this has not been swapped and greatly increasing security.

Passengers can also be identified at the gate without the need to present any further documentation, in support of Frequent Flyer programmes or simply to enhance the passenger experience.

In divestment areas, face recognition can also be used to identify individual passengers subject to enhanced security protocols and differentiate staff and crew from passengers in shared security lanes.

More about Aurora-AI

Artificial intelligence can also improve existing operational forecasting methods


Further resources


Independent testing of Aurora-AI IR face recognition

A team from the University of Nottingham Computer Vision Lab, led by Dr Michel Valstar, has carried out an independent evaluation of our Face Recognition performance against other vendors.

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Whitepaper: The Common Departure Lounge

Download our whitepaper for an overview on using biometrics to manage increasing passenger numbers.