TSA Launches The First Airport Security System With Self-Screening

(NationalUSNews.com) — On Wednesday, March 6, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) made a public announcement about a test program at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas for a new self-service screening system for airport security.

The prototype will be available for use by mid-March and was built in partnership between the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). For the test run, the system known as the “Innovation Checkpoint” will be limited to English-speaking PreCheck users.

TSA Administrator David Pekoske commented in the public statement that a benefit for travelers will be the ability to go through the screening process at their own pace. The automated checkpoint will have a screen that walks passengers through the step-by-step process, although Transportation Security Officers (TSO) will be on hand to assist if necessary. TSA press secretary, R. Carter Langston, says the move to more automated options is not about replacing or even reducing the number of TSOs, of which there are approximately 50,000.

The process works much like a normal TSA screening. First, the passengers place their belongings in bins, which will still be checked by TSOs, and then they move into the station, where they will be screened for any type of metal object. If the system detects any issues, such as a phone or other item accidentally left on their person, they can resolve the issue themselves by putting the item on the screening belt and then simply getting rescreened. After the process is completed, the exit door will open, allowing travelers to collect their belongings and move on.

While the automated checkpoint is completely optional and still in a limited testing phase, some people are not so sure automation in airport security is a good idea. Some are concerned that infrequent travelers will be confused by the automated process, as many people struggle with other automated systems like grocery store self-checkouts. Others are worried that with less attention from live personnel, problems could be missed. However, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Dimitri Kusnezov says that more and more people are traveling every year, which means that efficient screening innovations are becoming more necessary.

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