The government of Singapore is trialing a new self-service screening system at the country’s Woodlands Checkpoint border crossing. The system is comparable to those that have been installed at airports in Singapore and around the world, but is geared toward those who are traveling in cars rather than people who are on foot after getting off a plane.
In that regard, the Automated Passenger In-Car Clearance System (APICS) is essentially a car-sized booth that is outfitted with four self-service kiosks (one for each window of the vehicle). Those kiosks are equipped with document scanners to read people’s passports, and biometric cameras that can identify people with face and iris recognition.
When a car approaches the checkpoint, the driver will be asked to declare the number of people in the car, as well as their license plate, before those passengers move forward with the passport and biometric scans. The system can identify the make and model of a vehicle, and adjust the height of the kiosk(s) accordingly.
The APICS system was developed by Singapore’s Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX). The original version of the system debuted in 2017 and relied on fingerprint recognition rather than face and iris biometrics. The trial of the new system kicked off on June 21, and will run through the end of October. The HTX is hoping that the booths will cut down on border staffing requirements, though an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority agent will be on hand to provide assistance and gather feedback during the trial itself.
At the moment, booths are only open on weekday nights. Those interested in using the system cannot have more than four people in the car, all of whom must be at least six years old. The booths also have exhaust fans to prevent the buildup of fumes during the immigration screening, which can be completed in about five minutes.
Sources: The Straits Times and Mothership
July 5, 2022 – by Eric Weiss