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As technology develops and becomes more automated and user friendly, more and more self-service technologies have been installed. Whether it be self service banks or self service counters at your local grocery store, self service increases convenience towards the customer. Now it turns out that the United States Department of Homeland Security believes that airport security can benefit from similar technology.
The Department of Homeland Security has recently published a request for information for systems that would allow travelers to conduct their own security screening at airports. The department hopes that self screening would cut line times at airports and therefore speed up the security process and improve air passenger’s overall experience while traveling.
“Many patrons prefer an experience that they can complete all by themselves, at their own pace,” DHS officials stated. “The objective would be to create a passenger friendly, intuitive screening process while improving security, accelerating passenger throughput and reducing pat-down rates.”
The technology would likely be available for travelers that are already enrolled in the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program. Nextgov.com mentions that TSA would have to finalize specifics in the program, all though there are already over 9 million people enrolled in the program. So even if a fraction of the people enrolled in the PreCheck program are capable of self-screening, wait times at airports will be reduced.
Similar to how airport screenings work today, passengers would put their personal items in an X-ray machine as they go through a body scanner. The self-screening technology would notify passengers if they set off any alarms or forgot to remove any items that are meant to go into the X-ray scanner. If a particular person would require a closer inspection the system would alert TSA officers to more thoroughly examine the passenger.
The system’s main objective is to allow passengers the ability to self-screen while at the same time “detecting weapons and organic threat items hidden on passengers without the same level of transportation security officer engagement normally present in the screening process.”
Officials have further noted that the technology will have to at least be able to detect metals at the same standards as today’s metal detectors at airports.