In light of COVID-19, advanced health and safety precautions have become a top priority and part of the new normal for TSA and the travel industry. As a result, as part of our efforts to integrate facial matching technology with CAT, TSA is exploring testing and deployment of self-service technologies at airport checkpoints, particularly at the travel document checker position.
In late August 2020, at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), TSA demonstrated a self-service version of CAT with a camera. Based on further analysis of the DCA pilot, TSA is conducting formal field tests with volunteer passengers at DCA, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Indianapolis International Airport (IND), and Miami International Airport (MIA). TSA also plans to demonstrate the technology with volunteer passengers at Denver International Airport (DEN). During the tests, TSA will verify a live image capture against the image on a credential (e.g. passport or ID photo). The device enables passengers to scan their own identity documentation for authentication and biometric identity matching, thereby reducing unnecessary contact between TSA Officers and passengers. It also includes a Plexiglass shield to further minimize contact between TSA officers and passengers.
Passengers may choose not to have a photo taken by the camera at the checkpoint but will still need to place their identity document in the CAT device for authentication.
TSA is also continuing to collaborate with CBP on an ongoing facial identification technology pilot at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s (ATL) International Terminal F. This pilot provides an alternative means to verify passengers’ identity when they begin screening at a TSA security checkpoint. During this pilot, TSA and CBP are jointly providing an optional, end-to-end biometrics experience. The technology used is CBP’s Traveler Verification Service.
As part of this test, passengers flying directly to and from an international destination (specifically via ATL International Terminal F) are also able to take part in an optional biometric recognition process for checking baggage, with an airline agent present for assistance.
In early 2021 at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW), TSA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in cooperation with Delta Air Lines, will begin a pilot for Trusted Travelers (e.g. TSA PreCheck® and CBP Global Entry members). This pilot will use TSA’s Secure Flight and CBP’s Traveler Verification Service systems to verify a passenger’s identity at the TSA checkpoint. The technology compares the passenger’s live photo to a pre-staged gallery of photos previously provided to the government for travel purposes (i.e. passport, visa).
During the Delta Air Lines mobile app check-in process, eligible passengers will be notified of their ability to participate in the pilot and can opt in (consent) to participate. Passengers who choose to participate will have a consent indicator on their boarding pass. Passengers who do not opt in, and do not have a consent indicator on their boarding pass, will not be able to participate at this time.
Additional information on the DTW pilot can be found here.