by Donald Wood
Last updated: 10:05 AM ET, Wed September 2, 2020
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced it would continue operating pilot programs for its new touchless "self-service" technology at airports.
The TSA initiative will use technology to match a traveler's live photo with the photo on their ID and confirms their flight information in real-time. The credential authentication units can scan U.S. driver's licenses, passports, visas, military ID cards and more.
The current pilot program at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport follows a previous 30-day test of the technology with a camera in September 2019 at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas featuring volunteer TSA PreCheck passengers.
TSA officials refined the technology following the original pilot program before implementing it at the Washington airport, which also includes volunteer PreCheck travelers.
"In light of COVID-19, advanced health and safety precautions have become a top priority and part of the new normal for TSA," TSA Administrator David Pekoske said. "As a result, we are exploring rapid testing and deployment of this touchless, self-service technology."
"At the conclusion of the pilot, we expect to be able to determine how positioning the new technology will allow passengers to use it themselves thereby providing a safer checkpoint experience, while adding significant security benefits," Pekoske continued.
Passengers passing through the facility will be able to approach the device and insert their ID into the scanner for authentication, which promotes social distancing and reduces physical contact by eliminating the need for a TSA officer.
The device will also verify the identity of passengers by taking a photo of the traveler and comparing it with the image on their ID. The device will display results for face matching, ID authentication and flight information to the TSA officer, who will be behind an acrylic shield to further minimize contact between the officer and passengers.
Photographs of travelers taken as part of the program are not saved.
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