TSA Tests High-Tech Check-in Machines



The Transportation Security Administration has started testing new hi-tech check-in systems that will scan and verify passenger boarding passes with photo IDs, marking the agency’s latest effort to expedite the pre-boarding experience and make it safer for fliers.  

The new “fraudulent document detection technology” uses security features embedded in photo IDs to make sure that both the ID and boarding pass are authentic and match one another.

Known more formally as “credential authentication technology,” it can also identify alerted or fraudulent photo IDs.

The systems, which are currently being piloted at Washington Dulles International Airport and will be tested at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in the coming weeks, are a part of the TSA’s effort to move toward a more risk-based, intelligence-driven counterterrorism approach.

The new security measures, which help the TSA focus on those passengers that it knows the least about, are a part of efforts to “address evolving threats and improve the passenger screening experience.”

TSA Administrator John Pistole said the ability to efficiently and effectively identify fraudulent IDs has the potential to “not only improve security but also the checkpoint experience for passengers.”

The TSA has been rolling out an extensive array of new technologies to move closer to this technology-driven counterterrorism approach. It is also currently testing Pre-Check, a passenger screening program that allows fliers to undergo a screening and background check ahead of their arrival to the airport so they can move more quickly through the check-in process.

Pre-Check was expanded to 28 airports in February after being well received since it first rolled out in the middle of last year. U.S. Airways (NYSE:LCC), United Airlines (NYSE:UAL), Alaska Airlines (NYSE:ALK), American Airlines and Delta (NYSE:DAL) are all trying the new fast-track screening method for selected passengers.  

In October, the TSA hired contractors, including BAE Systems Information Solutions, Trans-Digital Technologies and NCR Government Systems, to develop and test the document detection technology. Tests began last week.

Each airport will receive six detection units, two units from each vendor. 

Once they are successfully implemented and tested, the TSA said it will expand their deployment to selected airports.

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