The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) launched an innovative "Registered Traveler" pilot program in late June aimed at alleviating delays at airport security screening stations. The pilot program debuted in five airports nationwide, three of which used specially designed security kiosks featuring Panasonic's BM-ET300 Iris Recognition Readers with advanced user guidance technology. Approved registered travelers are directed to a designated checkpoint lane where they may provide their Registered Traveler Smart Card containing biometric information - a fingerprint and iris data - for identity confirmation. Registered travelers and their carry-on bags still go through primary screening, but more extensive secondary screening will be largely eliminated.
"The Registered Traveler pilot program demonstrates how cost-effectively and easily advanced new security technologies can be deployed to assure higher levels of security and convenience for the general public," said Julianna Benedick, Group Manager of Marketing, Panasonic Digital Communications & Security Company. "Iris reader technology is one of the most fool-proof biometric forms of identifying and authenticating an individual."
The TSA's Registered Traveler kiosks in Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Houston feature fingerprint authentication and the Panasonic BM-ET300 Iris Reader System to provide fast and easy non-invasive identification and authentication. A self-prompting audio and visual user guidance system also assures easy operation. Once enrolled and accepted into the TSA program, participants either insert a smart card or touch the kiosk screen to activate the system. They then use either fingerprint authentication or the Panasonic Iris Reader to validate their identity. With Panasonic's unique dual camera system and advanced guidance system, the authentication process can take less than a second.
The airlines working with TSA solicited volunteers who fly at least once a week from the pilot program locations. A security assessment was conducted on each volunteer for qualification in the pilot program. Participants in the program are not subject to random security searches and in some locations will pass through designated lanes, which will reduce wait times for frequent travelers and allow security personnel to focus on the general access to high security areas.