Biometric car rental via CLEAR spreads to airports nationwide

Biometric car rental checkout using technology from expedited travel provider CLEAR could help streamline car rental transactions at airports this year, freeing travelers time at counters and exit gates. Hertz, which recently became the first car rental company to launch the facial recognition and fingerprint checkout service in Atlanta, says it plans to offer the service at more than 40 other locations this year.

The Hertz-CLEAR biometric authentication program could soon expand to 40 more locations, including major U.S. airports

Upcoming locations include Los Angeles International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport and San Francisco International Airport, the car rental company said in a statement. The effort represents a potentially significant expansion of CLEAR’s cloud-based biometric authentication technology, demonstrating its potential utility in the consumer world, not just for border control and similar tasks.

The service, called Hertz Fast Lane Powered by CLEAR, works only for those consumers who take part in the car rental company’s Hertz Gold Plus Rewards loyalty program and who also sign up for CLEAR biometric authentication. Once both enrollments are complete, the user simply links the two accounts. The service, which both Hertz and industry observers say marks the first use of biometric car rental checkout by a major provider, negates the need for customers to use physical IDs when driving rented vehicles off of a Hertz lot.

The biometric car rental Process

Instead, people who enroll in CLEAR and the Hertz biometric checkout program choose a vehicle from within a Hertz lot. The customer then drives the vehicle to the exit gate, where another kiosk performs facial recognition authentication, comparing the driver’s face to the picture on his or her driver’s license. Once authentication is complete, the gate rises and allows that driver to exit. Hertz also says that drivers can authenticate themselves via their fingerprints.

The payoff? According to Hertz, the new solution creates a car rental process that reduces processing time by 75 percent, cutting it to just 30 seconds.

CLEAR is operational in some 40 airports, according to its latest information.

The Hertz-CLEAR biometric authentication partnership comes amid a more general move toward having more digital ID and biometric technology in the world of automotive — especially as more cars and trucks become “smarter,” which more web connections, more capabilities for payments and commerce, and more sharing of specific vehicles among different owners. New technology, for instance, seeks to use biometrics to determine if a driver is tired, setting off alarms before an accident might happen. Car makers also are experimenting with using facial recognition software and cameras to confirm driver identity, which would not only enable an engine start, but could adjust seat positions and music stations according to set preferences, among other tasks.

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