Hertz and Clear are working hard to make car rentals as fast and easy as possible. They’re doing this by implementing facial recognition technology. Instead of showing their ID and rental agreement to a representative upon leaving, customers are now able to scan their information, fingerprint and use a facial recognition scanner to rent a car in as little as 30 seconds. The kiosks are currently being offered at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport. The catch, though, is that they’re only available to Hertz gold members who also have a Clear membership. The service is going to be expanding to 40 other airport and car rental locations in the next six months.
Although the service is only available to people who invest in making travel easier by purchasing memberships to things like Clear, the service benefits every customer overall. By reducing the amount of time that these customers spend checking out, it frees up the car rental center so that other customers can also get through much faster. Critics of the service are weary, though, as facial recognition is still so new to the tech world.
Apple only implemented facial recognition as part of its phone’s security options in the last couple of years. Companies have been quick to jump on the facial recognition train. But the system still has its own flaws to work out. Apple’s facial recognition technology, for example, received harsh criticism because it wasn’t recognizing certain features or even races back when it was first released.
More recently, Google was recently sued for $5 million by a group in Illinois. The group claimed that the tech company was violating Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act. The privacy act states that companies must get written consent before harvesting data such as fingerprints or facial features to be used in facial recognition. The lawsuit was dismissed by the judge. But it shows that the early stages of softwares like fingerprint and facial recognition are still in their early stages—both legally and technically.
More To Come
It’s unclear whether other car rental companies will dive into facial recognition in the same way that Hertz has. With Clear, Hertz is reserving the feature for customers that have previously passed some sort of background check. Clear was first created to be used as a faster alternative to TSA pre-check in domestic airports. So it’s not a membership that can be easily purchased.
The feature offered by Hertz and Clear is called Fast Lane. It’s only available in Atlanta’s international airport right now. But the company says it plans to expand to more major US-airports in the near future. Customers can sign up for clear in participating airports and online.
Julia Sachs is a staff writer at Grit Daily. She covers tech, entrepreneurship and entertainment news and is based in Park City, Utah.