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Eurotunnel introduces automatic face recognition technology at terminals in Folkestone and Coquelles

By Molly Mileham-Chappell

Eurotunnel has invested in electronic border technology as part of their Brexit preparations.

The company, also known as Getlink, and IN Groupe have signed a partnership in the presence of Xavier Bertrand, President of the Hauts-de-France region, to equip the train terminals with PARAFE E-Gates.

It is the same system often seen at airports.

Border eGates. Creative Commons Wikimedia - Elliott Killingbeck (7308517)
Border eGates. Creative Commons Wikimedia - Elliott Killingbeck (7308517)

The company say it is actively progressing its preparations for Brexit, and it is the result of work carried out over several months between Eurotunnel and IN Groupe, under the authority of the Minister of the Interior in France.

It's hoped the hi-tech equipment will make it easier for passengers holding biometric passports to cross the border and contribute to the modernisation of operational border management.

Additionally, it is designed to speed up border crossings which in turn increase passenger flow and the quality of border checks, with greater certainty on travellers’ identities and their rights.

Tourists are expected to be some of the first to test the new system.

As part of the first phase of the project, 51,000 passengers travelling by coach every year will use the PARAFE gates from the beginning of April.

Two sets of nine gates - five in departures and four in arrivals - with the new generation facial recognition will be installed in France and the UK.

Locomotive French portal. (6687312)
Locomotive French portal. (6687312)

Later phases will focus on equipment for Eurotunnel’s Flexiplus services, followed by a broader roll out.

IN Groupe, global specialist in corporate identity, has partnered with Gunnebo, a security solution and services company, to deploy its latest generation E-Gates to equip the land border, stating that reinforcing security while improving the flow of travellers at borders will contribute to improving passenger satisfaction.

Xavier Bertrand, President of the Hauts-de-France region, said: “In the context of Brexit, Eurotunnel and IN Groupe have taken the lead regarding the important issues of safety and fluidity. This technology does not replace people but allows us to face new challenges and to save time. The Hauts-de-France region is ready, thanks to Imprimerie Nationale technology which will help passengers. It is tried and tested technology: it provides safety and comfort.”

Didier Trutt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IN Groupe said: “With our innovative border control solutions, we provide a powerful and immediately operational response to the security challenges of each state. Today, we are proud to equip the first non-airport border crossing point in Europe.”

Jacques Gounon, chairman and CEO of Getlink, said: “By becoming the first terminal on the Short Strait to be equipped with facial biometric recognition technology, Eurotunnel again demonstrates shows its mission to enable easier and faster travel for its customers.”

Eurotunnel transports more than eleven million passengers each year between Coquelles and Folkestone.

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