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TSA's Self-Service Screening Option Trial

  • The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is launching a trial for a self-service screening option at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas next month.

  • This initiative aims to accelerate the security process at U.S. airports. It's part of the TSA's plan to test three new technologies to enhance airport security.

  • The trial features technology from Vanderlande Industries, a Georgia-based logistics company.

Key Features of the Self-Service System:

  • The system will segregate PreCheck passengers into a checkpoint lane equipped with four integrated stations.

  • Each station includes a video monitor with instructions and a help button linked to a TSA officer for additional assistance.

  • Passengers must pass each station's requirements before proceeding to the next.

  • If a passenger encounters an issue during initial screening (e.g., items left in pockets), the system allows them to rectify it before re-screening.

  • Upon successfully clearing all requirements, an automatic exit door opens, allowing travelers to retrieve their belongings and head to their departure gates.

Purpose and Evaluation:

  • The prototype was previously installed and evaluated at the TSA Transportation Systems Integration Facility (TSIF) in Washington, D.C.

  • TSA Administrator David Pekoske intends to highlight the benefits to PreCheck travelers. The aim is to showcase the added value to passengers who have pre-cleared for travel.

Additional Technologies Being Tested:

  • Micro-X of Federal Way and Voxel Radar are the other two companies awarded contracts by the DHS's Science and Technology Directorate.

  • Micro-X's technology includes a pod-based system for individual passenger screening, expected to be showcased at CES in Las Vegas in 2024.

  • Voxel Radar developed a real-time screening technology for passengers, potentially reducing the need for static checkpoints.

Ultimate Goals and Benefits:

  • The TSA's primary objective is to expedite airport security while enabling TSA officers to focus attention elsewhere.

  • These advancements could potentially reduce the necessity for a large number of TSA officers, addressing staffing shortages reported in the post-pandemic travel resurgence.

Global Context:

  • Similar efforts have been seen internationally, such as London City Airport dropping the liquid carry-on rule and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) introducing a Verified Traveller Program akin to TSA PreCheck.

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