Topics: Hardware; Software; Digital Transformation; Fed.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is preparing to improve and extend self-processing facilities for international travellers, calling for an innovative contactless technology solution to replace existing automated arrivals processes.
It is the first of three solutions that the department will procure to deliver on the government’s Seamless Traveller initiative, which was allocated $93.7 million over five years in the 2015-16 budget.
The Automated Border Control (ABC) solution – currently the subject of a Request for Tender (RFT) – intends to “eliminate the need for physical tickets and have the ability to process Travellers using contactless technology”, according to tender documents.
It will replace ageing SmartGate arrivals technology with ABC Processing Points that “are composed of a biometric capture device but may also include [a] passport reader, sensors, lights, display devices and physical obstructions to prevent a Traveller from crossing the border”.
The department envisages that it will own the hardware and software licences; the service provider will supply, implement, manage and maintain the solution.
The solution will need to integrate with DIBP systems to verify the identity of travellers, as well as:
- Support multimodal biometrics, such as iris, face and fingerprint;
- capture and store biometric data for future border clearances;
- allow travellers to pass through the ABC Processing Point using a two or more step biometric capture process;
- support real-time capture and identity matching of stationary and moving travellers who are approaching an ABC Processing Point; and
- permit travellers to complete the verification in one or two steps depending on if there is a need to present a passport.
It is also desirable that the solution support mobile processing of travellers using handheld devices, and provide the ability to accurately capture and verify identity in a group setting.
The solution also needs to integrate with two future solutions that will digitise the physical Incoming Passenger Card (IPC) procedure and reduce the need for passengers to be manually processed at an Exit Marshall Point (EMP). The department expects to issue RFT’s for these solutions in 2017.
The RFT for the ABC solution comes less than two months after the Migration Amendment (Visa Revalidation and Other Measures) Bill 2016 was introduced in the House of Representatives to allow the use of contactless technology for self-processing.
“The live facial image of the traveller at the SmartGate will be matched against an image previously verified as the unique identifier associated with that identity”, the Bill states.
DIBP intends to use two databases for image verification: the Australian Passport Office database and its own departmental systems.
While automated clearance of inbound travellers has existed in Australia since the installation of the first set of SmartGates in 2007, only those with ePassports from 14 countries (other than Australia) have been eligible to use the automated process.
Vision Box recently completed its rollout of 92 biometrics SmartGates at the departure gates of eight of Australia’s international airports, under a $25 million contract with the department that runs until 30 June 2018. In its 2015-16 Annual Report, the department put the number of departing travellers who used SmartGates for self-processing between July 2015 and June 2016 at approximately 6.9 million or 85 per cent of eligible travellers.
The department aims for the ABC solution, which will align self-processing facilities at both arrivals and departures, to support its objective of processing 90 per cent of arriving travellers through an automated border control point by 2020.
The solution will be piloted at Canberra Airport– Australia’s newest international airport – in June 2017, before being rolled out to larger airports from November 2017.
Submission to the RFT will close on 31 January 2017, with a briefing to be held on 20 December 2016.