Automated border control

An Automated border control is a combination of document authentication system, biometric verification system, and border control software deployed for the identification and authentication of travellers. The system offers user-friendly, secure, and fast solution for travellers while crossing the international border.

Top 10 Automated Border Control Vendors 2020

  3. SITA

Market Overview

An automated border control is an automated system that helps border crossing authorities authorize and validate the identity of travellers crossing the border at border crossing points (BCPs) while maintaining security. The automated border control can reduce the security-related workload of border control agencies and manage the automated border control process with less human interference. The automated border control process involves the authentication of travel documents, biometric verification of traveller identity, and authorization of traveller to cross the border. automated border control checks the traveller documents through biometric verification, typically face, fingerprint, and iris recognition, and authorizes the traveller to cross the border after validating all the documents.

The ABC market was valued at USD 456.5 million in 2016 and is expected to reach USD 1,577.7 million by 2023, at a CAGR of 17.45% between 2017 and 2023. The automated border control market has been segmented on the basis of solution type, application, component, and geography. The market is mainly driven by rising security concerns, increasing automation across all port facilities, and enhanced traveller convenience in border crossing process. Moreover, rise in international passenger travel and accuracy in border crossing process through IoT devices and services are expected to be the major opportunities for the automated border control market. However, the lack of standardization and large capital required for infrastructure projects restrain the automated border control market growth. The threat of identity theft is a major challenge for the market.

Some of the leading players in this market are Gemalto (Netherlands), OT-Morpho (France), SITA (Switzerland), Indra Sistemas (Spain), secunet Security Networks (Germany), Vision-Box (Portugal), Gunnebo Group (Sweden), NEC Corporation (Japan), and Accenture (Republic of Ireland).


Visionary leaders are the leading players in the market having a robust service portfolio, a strong market presence, and also effective business strategies. These players have a broad product portfolio which enables to serve most of the regions all over the world. Visionary leaders primarily focus on acquiring the leading market position through their strong financial capabilities and well-established brand equity.


Over the past decade, in the ABC market, there have been many companies that are largely dependent on their competitive R&D activities. Most of the dynamic differentiators are classified under tier 2 and tier 3 companies that have presence in various regions globally.


The ABC market is moderately dependent on innovators as moderate capital and investments are required for the manufacturing of products, and it is not difficult for new players to enter into this market.. Moreover, there is high demand for ABC solution; therefore, new players can make steady profits.


As the market poses moderate threat to new entrants in establishing their footprint, there are many players providing ABC products to diverse clientele groups globally.

Market Dynamics


  • Rising security concerns
  • Increasing need for automation across all port facilities
  • Enhanced traveller convenience in border crossing process


  • Lack of standardization
  • Large capital required for infrastructure projects


  • Rise in international passenger travel
  • Accuracy in border crossing process through IoT devices and services


  • Threat of identity theft

Automated Border Control Market, by Solution Type

An automated border control (ABC) can authenticate and verify travellers crossing border through their biometric traits, with less human intervention. International passenger travel is increasing every year, and it is essential for border management agencies to manage and process increasing number of travellers with less resources, without compromising on security.

ABC E-Gates

Automated border control e-gates authenticate the identity of travellers crossing at the border crossing points (BCPs) with less or no human interference. ABC e-gates execute 3 types of checks: authentication of travel documents, traveller identity verification through biometric technology, and check on the traveller authorization to cross the border. Most of the e-gates use electronic machine-readable travel document (e-MRTD), compliant with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard, with the biometric data of travellers.

An e-gate consists of 4 major components: the acquisition camera—an adjustable camera to capture traveller’s image; the illumination system, which provides a symmetric and uniform illumination that avoids blinding the traveller and compensates the external lights; face quality assessment module to check the quality of image and discard low-quality image; and facial verification module to verify the live captured image with the one present in the database. The below figure shows the structure of e-gate and external systems.

ABC Kiosks

ABC kiosk is a self-service system that scans passengers’ travel documents and answers their security-related queries, thus optimizing the performance of recognition system at BCP. ABC kiosk eliminates the need for border crossing agent to manually check traveller’s identity and documents of each passenger. Moreover, kiosk automates customs declaration process and integrates with back-end systems to perform risk assessment, thus increasing the efficiency at BCP. Most of the ABC kiosks are compliant with international standards, such as ICAO and IATA, for machine-readable travel document (MRTD).

Reduction in travel time is an essential element of enhancing travellers’ experience. Kiosks reduce the waiting time, decrease congestion, and increase customs processing time, thus improving passenger travel experience.

Automated Border Control Market, by Component

An automated border control (ABC) is a self-service accurate border crossing system. It verifies, authenticates, and maintains information through hardware, software, and services. Hardware components include biometric verification, document authentication, and other systems (such as signature scanner and baggage scanner).


In ABC system, various types of hardware components are used to communicate and authenticate the data and provide access to the authorized person at border crossing points (BCPs). The various types of hardware components in automated border control include document authentication, biometric verification, signature scanner and baggage scanner.

Document Authentication System (DAS)

DAS is a process under which an e-passport is verified against traveller to determine whether the document carried by the traveller is authenticated. DAS works in 3 steps: carries out visual document check, accesses and reads e-passport data, and verifies e-passport data. Document reader is a subcomponent in the DAS of automated border control, and is designed in such a way that it can be easily handled by both left- and right-handed people. The document reader is integrated with an RF module and is accessible through personal computer or smart card interface.

Biometric Verification System (BVS)

Biometrics technology is used for measuring different physiological parameters related to shape or part of the body. Biometric devices consist of a reader and software that convert the scanned information into digital format; and a database that stores the biometric data for comparison. Biometrics is unique to each person and cannot be duplicated; this makes it a prevalent method of authentication. Biometrics is one of the fastest-growing technologies used at BCPs as it enables the identification of a person’s physical characteristics to provide controlled physical access to personnel across the border crossing infrastructure.

Fingerprint recognition is the most commonly used recognition method, followed by face recognition and iris scan recognition. Moreover, some border crossing authorities also use the combination of 2 or all recognition methods; face recognition and iris scan is one of the most preferred combinations in the ABC. The biometric verification is carried out in 2 main units: capture unit to capture the biometric data, and verification unit to verify the captured biometric data.

Face and iris recognition is considered the most secure and accurate biometric verification method; thus, most of the international border control agencies recommend face and iris recognition at BCPs. ICAO strongly recommends face recognition across the globe for biometric identification of travellers.

Signature Scanner and Baggage Scanner

Other hardware components used in ABC system are signature scanner and baggage scanner. Signature scanner uses digital signature to verify the person’s signature in the passport against the live signature of the person. The digital signature can be verified only if the Country Signing Certification Authority (CSCA) of the issuing and border crossing country is available. Baggage or luggage scanner is used to allow passengers to cross the passage smoothly with their luggage or baggage. Most of the border control authorities use HI-SCAN X-ray inspection units, along with image processing, to scan travellers’ baggage at BCPs.


Software component in the ABC ensures efficiency and performance of biometric and document recognition database algorithms, along with risk assessment for travellers. Databases that capture face, fingerprint, iris, palm print, and vein biometric data consist of different poses and expressions, along with low- and high-quality images captured under both controlled and uncontrolled environments. Additionally, the software component in ABC performs the optimization of passenger’s image, such as centering, cropping, and adjusting contrast and brightness, along with the quality check of each biometric verification method against the data stored in e-passport.

Software components also perform visitor screening and biometric search against watch list for visitors’ visa application, and biometric verification upon their arrival at the BCP. Moreover, database for ABC is implemented at centralized workflows for sharing data between jurisdictions across the border. The system also shares custom reports for data such as biometric image transaction and quality throughput for monitoring and diagnostics at BCPs.

Software applications used by most of the key players in the ABC are either Java applets or .NET user controls that run within a self-run application to auto-capture a person’s biometrics, and store data in a central database. Software component also implements workflows to process and send the transactions of travellers’ databases to a case management system for authentication across the border.

ABC software operates through a main server. Whenever a person crosses an e-gate, his/her biometric data is validated through application such as text component, face component, palm print, and vein component. The main server processes the data submitted from the e-gate at the border crossing point through the workflow manager process and sends it to the case management system. The administrator uses a browser to view, edit, print, and create a report on biometric data of the traveller. Lastly, after validating the biometric data, the e-gate sends notification to the main server to allow or deny the access of a person.


Automated Border Control providers mainly offer installation and maintenance services. The system cost consists of technology cost, along with maintenance and implementation costs. Regular maintenance eliminates the replacement cost of ABC at BCPs. The growth of the ABC market for services can be attributed to the increasing adoption of ABC across borders and technological developments in ABC.


The installation of ABC includes installation of e-gates and kiosks with software and hardware components. The installation service also includes enabling these software and hardware components to connect with each other, hence providing communication access to hardware and software components. Installation may also include the integration of Automated Border Control with other security technologies, such as video surveillance and intruder alarm management.


The maintenance and support services offered by Automated Border Control providers include periodical upgrades of software and hardware components. There are 2 types of maintenance services offered by ABC providers— preventive maintenance and reactive maintenance. Preventive maintenance services are to reduce future breakdowns of ABC, and reactive maintenance services are to address the breakdown of ABC. The maintenance services also include the real-time monitoring of ABC e-gates and kiosks, along with the scheduled backup of data, and providing security advice and consulting services.


Automated Border Control Systems are deployed at airports, land ports, and seaports. The major functions of Automated Border Control are ticketing at airports and other road travel, check-in, check-out, and immigration/arrival processes. ABC are deployed in public transport facilities and information centres. These systems are deployed for the protection of borders against unauthorized people and illegal activities. ABC ensure safety and increase operational efficiency by providing access to authorized personnel in less time compared with border control agents. Increasing need for protecting borders and reducing illegal activities across borders is creating an opportunity for ABC providers.


To optimize the use of existing infrastructure and technology at airports, and manage growing passenger traffic, airports need to improve operational efficiency. Automated Border Control have the ability to handle a large number of passengers and improve operational efficiency while maintaining security. ABC also help carry out functions such as self-check-in, check out, and baggage tagging. The most time-consuming activity at airports is tagging baggage and clearing the immigration/arrival process, which is resolved by ABC via the self-tagging of baggage and self-service for the immigration/arrival process. European and North American airport operators are among the major end users deploying ABC with biometrics to increase passenger clearance without increasing airport staff cost—enhancing convenience and security at airports.

Land Ports

Railways are the backbone of transportation facility in metro cities. People want quick service and information about train availability and the immigration/arrival process. People from different regions traveling to a new location tend to ask the reception for the information and have to go through various security checks. Automated Border Control at these locations will make such information available to visitors. The content of these ABC systems is arranged in a clear and defined menu for users. Often multilingual options are provided to enable people from other regions or countries to access information, thereby avoiding linguistic barriers.


Border crossing at seaports is one of the most sensitive and time-consuming processes owing to increasing illegal activities at seaport borders. As seaports are important transit points in the business processes, security is an essential aspect for sustained business stability. Moreover, with new and mega seaports being constructed and upgraded across the world, advanced port security systems will become essential to monitor and curtail any imminent threat to the ports. A majority of the government bodies across the world are deploying automated border control at seaports to ensure security and fast border crossing.


  • ABC is an automated system that helps border crossing authorities authorize and validate the identity of travellers crossing the border at border crossing points (BCPs) while maintaining security.
  • The automated border control can reduce the security-related workload of border control agencies and manage the ABC process with less human interference.
  • The ABC process involves the authentication of travel documents, biometric verification of traveller identity, and authorization of traveller to cross the border.
  • ABC checks the traveller documents through biometric verification, typically face, fingerprint, and iris recognition, and authorizes the traveller to cross the border after validating all the documents.

Market Trends

  • Ease of travel and need for enhanced security fuels demand for automated border control systems
  • Tremendous growth in the number of cross-border travels worldwide gives rise to the need for ABC Systems
  • Rise in air and ocean passenger travel volumes is shifting the market towards growth
  • Rapid growth of air traffic is the major factor countries are investing in automated border control systems
  • Need to reduce wait times and queues at border controls enhances need for automation
  • Biometrics-based e-passport gates at airports: shortening passenger wait time
  • Facial recognition technology to emerge as future of border control
  • Use of ABC kiosks at airports and cruise terminals continues to grow

Recent Developments

In February 2020, BioCatch has officially added AimBrain to its portfolio. Both companies are behavioural biometrics specialists, so the acquisition is expected to enhance BioCatch’s existing fraud detection and behavioural biometrics capabilities.

In January 2020, FacePhi acquired Spanish document recognition specialist Ecertic to improve its digital onboarding services. The latter company’s technology is compliant with the latest EIDAS regulations in Europe.

In December 2019, France’s IN Groupe has completed its acquisition of the optical security specialist SURYS. SURYS is best known as a provider of security components for passports.

In October 2019, HID Global has completed its acquisition of De La Rue’s international identity solutions business. The latter company is a UK-based manufacturer of passports, bank notes, and tax stamps in automated border control market.

Best Automated Border Control System 2022

Comparing 25 vendors in Automated Border Control System across 16 criteria.
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