Hertz and Clear Bring Facial Recognition to the Rental Car Industry

December 11, 2018, 11:20 PM UTC

The pain of car rentals could soon get easier thanks to a new program from Hertz that lets members bypass the counter, and drive away using nothing more than their face.

On Tuesday, Hertz announced a plan to install facial recognition units at airports around the country, beginning this week at Hartsfield–Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. In 2019, the company will roll out the service, known as Hertz Fast Lane, to 40 more airports, including ones in New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), and Los Angeles (LAX).

Hertz is launching the service in partnership with the biometrics company Clear, which is already a fixture at many airport security lines and a growing number of sports stadiums around the company.

Using the facial recognition checkout requires the rental to be a member of Hertz Gold Plus and also to enroll inClear. According to a company spokesperson, eligible customers can simply walk to the vehicle they have reserved and drive to a check out terminal. Here’s how that looks in practice:

Customers will also have the option of using a fingerprint instead of their face to prove their identity at checkout.

“The new service…uses biometrics to drastically speed up the car rental process, so travelers can get through the exit gate and on the road in 30 seconds or less—a time saving of at least 75 percent,” said Herz in a statement.

If facial recognition catches on at airport terminals, it’s likely to spread to other car rental locations. While the technology raises numerous privacy issues, it appears many consumers are willing to tolerate that risk in favor of the greater convenience it provides.

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