Last month, the Los Angeles International Airport began a three-week test to see if facial recognition technology could help speed up the check in process. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) installed two new gates at the Tom Bradley International Terminal that required passengers to run their passports and their boarding passes over a scanner before they could proceed. The technology used at the new gates confirms that the names on the passports match the names on the boarding passes. According to a memo from the TSA,
TSA expects that facial recognition may help reduce dependencies on TSA personnel and expedite security processes, resulting in shorter lines and reduced wait times.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t that big of a difference in the check in process yet. The two gates were used for only a few hours a day to see how fast and accurate the new technology is. A camera installed in the gates snaps a photo of the traveler and uses “facial matching algorithms” to compare it to the image that is pulled from the microchip embedded in newer passports. As a safety precaution, travelers who were given the green light to pass through the new gates had TSA officers verify their identity. Hopefully, the facial recognition technology is able to be improved to speed up the check in process without sacrificing public safety.