The much anticipated Registered Traveler program just moved a little further along. The program, which allows travelers to pay extra money to go through screening faster than other travelers by pre-registering themselves with a DHS background check and biometric and identity information on file, has been in a pilot process as technology and policy for its management was created.
On Friday it was clear that progress had indeed been made, as the Transportation Security Administration announced that it is setting an annual fee of $28 to handle background checks for Registered Traveler participants.
As if that wasn't progress enough for the program, GE Security today unveiled a new technology kiosk that could be used as part of the program.
The company's technology launch was that of its Secure Registered Traveler (SRT) kiosk, which it was unveiling at the National Safe Skies Alliance Symposium in Washington, D.C. The kiosk had been tested as part of the Verified's Clear program, one of a few private businesses that provide the Registered Traveler services. Clear, the only one currently TSA approved -- though many others are close behind in the process to become TSA approved -- currently has 32,000 customers registered who pay roughly $100 per year for the privilege to move more quickly through security.
The technology behind the GE kiosk is part of the cutting edge. The SRT kiosk integrates trace explosives detection and quadrupole-based explosives detection with biometrics identification. It checks not only the person, but also their shoes for threats. The kiosk was demonstrated with an iris reader that looked to be made by Panasonic.
The Clear program, of which GE is a major investor, is likely to deploy the SRT kiosks at its lanes in Orlando, JFK airport in NYC, Indianapolis International, Cincinnati International and San Jose International Airport.
GE has quietly been making strides in air security. It has developed a system for testing shoes for explosives (while on the person), and at the San Francisco airport, has been developing a unified security threat check station that could process humans and baggage. It's "Puffer" device (the device is more properly known as the EntryScan) has seen fairly wide deployment in pilot tests at some U.S. airports, as has its direct competition, the Sentinel II from Smith's Detection.