New ABC system for St Pancras


Vision-Box has implemented a face recognition-based Automated Border Control (ABC) system at London’s St Pancras International railway station for French border control.

The initiative, which involves Eurostar, the French border police (DCPAF) and the French Ministry of Interior, aims to maximise the speed and efficiency of the secure immigration clearance process for passengers travelling from the UK into continental Europe and the Schengen zone.

With traffic expected to increase by an estimated 20% over the next few years – and more than 26,000 passengers a day set to pass through border control between the peak late afternoon hours of 4pm and 7pm – Vision-Box says its eGates allow Eurostar to orchestrate its passenger management process with greater fluidity and mobility while maintaining a high level of security. It adds that since June 2016, more than 500,000 passengers have used the self-service eGates and benefited from a speedy and seamless border control experience.

According to the company, this is the first time that a self-service technology solution has been deployed by a private transportation service provider to optimise passenger flow at a border within an international rail hub.

Vision-Box says it also represents the birth of a new generation of PARAFE, the French automated border crossing system that uses biometric authentication technology to verify passenger identities at the country’s borders.

“Eurostar’s mission is to deliver a memorable experience to our customers,” says Mikaël Lemarchand, director of Stations at Eurostar. “At every single touch point of their journey with Eurostar, whether in business lounges, on board the brand new trains or at border controls in our terminals, customers are offered easy solutions… We are now planning the next chapter to deploy automated border controls throughout the Eurostar network, in Paris and Brussels.”

Miguel Leitmann, CEO and founder of Vision-Box, reports that the first usage statistics are overwhelming in terms of the positive feedback from both travellers and police officers. He adds: “Once again, it is very much about creating a dynamic collaboration, facilitating multi-cultural understanding, and focusing on the balance between two major aspects: the absolute need for higher security at the border, and a passenger-centric experience that serves the public interest to the benefit of our client. We are extremely proud to be part of this adventure, contributing to a safer world whilst improving everyday people’s lives.”

Vision-Box’s vb i-match ABC eGates solution has been deployed at St Pancras International as part of a private/public innovation initiative between stakeholders, for use by all passengers from the EU, the EEA and Switzerland over the age of 18 and holding a valid ePassport.

The gates function in a supervised, self-service mode, which can be overruled at any time by border police officers should additional investigations be required. French border police supervise the process in real-time, using Vision-Box’s vb inspector monitoring stations, part of the vb orchestra platform which operates in a highly secure and privacy-responsible framework.

The company says the Eurostar project will allows it to gain a market hold in France. It adds that it intends to capitalise on this success to further expand in the French market by securing additional long-term partnerships in the transportation industry, delivering further border control solutions to new prospects such as airports. 

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New ABC system for St Pancras
New ABC system for St Pancras

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