The Homeland Security Department’s Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have announced that they are partnering in an effort to develop a passenger self-screening system and will be issuing a solicitation in the near future to find a third party to help them accomplish their goal.
Likened to self-checkout kiosks that are found at many grocery stores around the world these days, the solution is aimed at improving the flow of passengers through the various security checkpoints at airports, and is part of a larger initiative for Apex Screening at Speed (SaS).
“A successful solution would lead to a passenger friendly, intuitive screening process while improving security, accelerating passenger throughput, reducing pat-down rates, and reducing the overall level of contact a passenger experiences with other passengers and TSOs,” wrote officials.
According to the DHS S&T and the TSA, one way they will be looking to accomplish the goal of improving and speeding up the flow of passengers without compromising the current security level at airports, is to look at ways of combining the now separate on-person screening and x-ray processes into one step.
The solution is also required to be able to detect “weapons and other organic threat items hidden on passengers without the same level of transportation security officer engagement normally present in the screening process.”
Biometric technology solutions have been deployed in airports more frequently in recent years, including for entry/exit programs and more recently for temperature detection in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The DHS S&T Screening at Speed program pursues transformative research and development activities that support a future vision for increasing aviation security effectiveness from curb to gate while dramatically reducing wait times and improving the passenger experience,” says the notice on the beta.SAM.gov site. “To enable this vision, SaS, in conjunction with TSA’s Innovation Task Force, is considering the development of a passenger self-screening solution to transform the TSA’s concept of operations.”
Initially, the solution being sought will only be targeted toward the TSA PreCheck environment, though the agencies did state that they will look into a wider deployment once the system’s capabilities have matured.
May 25, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis