Car Rental Firms May Rely More On Facial Recognition Technology
Hertz currently leads the pack in using biometric innovations
Several months ago, Hertz announced plans to test a whole new technology called biometrics, which uses facial recognition technology to identify its rental car consumer base that frequently books with the company at a number of major airports.
Hooking up with technology company Clear in December, the company revealed it was using one of the recognition units at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport as part of its Hertz Fast Lane initiative to speed up service and improve security. Pending the results of test, the company planned to add the service at terminals in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and nearly 40 other airports.
So far, other car rental players haven’t uttered so much as a peep over biometric aspirations as Enterprise is shifting its technology to enhance its customer service and Avis has beefed up its real-time vehicle information platforms on its app. But according to a recent story that surfaced in Business Travel News, it may only be a matter of time before competitors jump on board.
It goes further, exploring the possibilities that biometrics may be so prevalent in the travel industry, the technology could very well replace passports in the future. For consumers renting cars, the amenities are numerous. Aside from ensuring greater security, since a person’s organic features would be much harder to duplicate than a document like a passport, it saves rental car company staff valuable time from having to manually verify someone’s credentials. Biometric information could also be stored with other consumer data, such as vehicle preference and may help alert customers about incidents like flight delays that might affect their bookings.
“Biometrics essentially would serve as a traveler’s identification and documentation through all stages of a journey,” said the piece. “Digital identity verification would become an enhanced safety net.”
It’s likely that most car rental companies aren’t taking advantage of the innovation, simply because a number of authorities are already using it at most major hubs to improve passenger safety and decrease the potential for terrorist activity. It’s already being implemented at JFK International Airport in New York by airlines using biometric technology supplied by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Delta Airlines is also employing biometrics in Atlanta at Hartsfield-Jackson, the same airport Hertz has been testing its own high-tech service.
Still, privacy concerns over the measure have so far prevented the Transportation Safety Administration from making biometrics compulsory. But once consumers become more comfortable with the technology, it may only be a matter of time before all players in the travel industry, including car rental companies, get on board.