The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Screening at Speed Program announced the award of two contracts totaling $2,880,741 for concept design and prototype design to Micro-X Inc. of Federal Way, Washington, to develop a passenger self-screening solution and associated hardware for airport checkpoints.
Funding for both contracts 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 self-screening experiences at TSA airport security checkpoints.
The 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 enable this vision, Screening at Speed 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, that will provide passengers the option to complete activities by themselves.
Under the first contract of $1,311,682, Micro-X proposes to design a screening solution capable of using the natural motion of passengers divesting their belongings to achieve thorough inspection for prohibited and/or concealed items and provide near real-time feedback to the passenger if additional screening is necessary. Under a second contract of $1,569,059, Micro-X will also develop a small form-factor computed tomography (CT) X-ray system to enable a more compact, integrated screening solution necessary for a self-screening experience. Through concept design and hardware development, S&T will be closer to providing a next generation screening experience that improves security, alleviates the cognitive load on Transportation Security Officers (TSOs), reduces contact between travelers, and decreases screening time for travelers.
“Future passenger self-screening technology 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.”