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News Release: DHS S&T Awards Funding to Design Passenger Self-Screening Hardware System

News Release: DHS S&T Awards Funding to Design Passenger Self-Screening Hardware System

Release Date: 
October 13, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
S&T Public Affairs, 202-254-2385

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Screening at Speed Program announced the award of $387,415 in technology maturation funding to Voxel Radar, based in San Francisco, California, and headquartered in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, to develop a passenger self-screening hardware subsystem for airport checkpoints. Funding was awarded under the Screening at Speed Broad Agency Announcement, which accelerates Screening at Speed’s and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Innovation Task Force’s efforts to explore the use of a self-screening experience at TSA airport security checkpoints.

S&T’s Screening at Speed Program pursues transformative research and development (R&D) to increase aviation security effectiveness from curb to gate, while dramatically reducing wait times and improving the passenger experience. To make this a reality, S&T is developing a passenger self-screening solution to transform the TSA PreCheck® concept of operations. Just like self-checkout at grocery stores, ATM machines at banks, and checked baggage self-tagging kiosks at the airport, Screening at Speed aims to develop self-screening stations at checkpoints, through the Passenger Self-Screening Project, which will provide passengers the option to complete activities by themselves.

The Voxel Radar proposal aims to develop a prototype for next generation millimeter wave panel sensors to enable a passenger self-screening solution. The Voxel Radar prototype sensor will be designed to line walls or curved surfaces to collect data in real-time with an open architecture that enables rapid system integration and algorithm upgrades. The system will leverage the natural motion of passengers removing their belongings to achieve thorough inspection for prohibited and/or concealed items. It will also provide near real-time feedback to the passenger if additional screening or divestiture is necessary. Creating self-screening technology will improve security, increase the time Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) have for strategic analysis, reduce contact between travelers, and decrease the amount of time travelers spend being screened.

“Future passenger self-screening automation is expected to not only keep travelers and TSOs safer in pandemic situations like the one we face today, but will also improve the quality of screening from a security perspective and provide an innovative and convenient experience for airline passengers,” said John Fortune, Screening at Speed Program Manager, "Screening at Speed continues to work across our portfolio of projects to meet TSA’s short-, mid-, and long-term capability needs.”

For more information about S&T’s innovation programs and tools, visit https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/work-with-st.

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