Travel's High-Tech Future — Eventually

Reuters examines the possibilities of travel in a mobile device and integrated systems world:

Welcome to the airport terminal of the future.

There are self-service bag drops but no check-in desks. Your passage is seamless, punctuated behind the scenes only by discrete Near Field Communication sensors.

Occasionally you stop to scan your NFC-enabled smartphone at a touch point. Your biometric information, picked up by automated surveillance cameras, will ensure there’s no need to queue up to see whether you pose a security threat.

This is where travel needs to be, say technologists who also insist that their wizardry, if employed universally, could solder together the jagged edges of the industry.

It may sound far-fetched, but automated systems that talk to handheld devices are in the trial stage: In Australia, Qantas has rolled out frequent flyer cards with radio frequency identification tags to streamline the luggage-tagging process; Japan Airlines JAL.L is deploying NFC-based mobile boarding passes later this year for domestic flights.

Read more: Travel’s eventual high-tech future

There’s a lot of interconnected systems work that needs to take place for this to happen reliably, and a lot of trust to be placed in systems that cross-reference, cross-check, and seek out patterns of travel, human connectedness, and what’s normal/abnormal. I hope we don’t completely remove humans from the system.

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