Airport self-screening contract won by company with US HQ in Marietta

A TSA PreCheck retractable belt barrier is displayed at the new South checkpoint security screening in the domestic terminal at the airport in Atlanta, Monday, November 23, 2020.  (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

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A TSA PreCheck retractable belt barrier is displayed at the new South checkpoint security screening in the domestic terminal at the airport in Atlanta, Monday, November 23, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Vanderlande’s $2.5M contract could help change TSA PreCheck

Vanderlande Industries Inc., which has its U.S. headquarters in Marietta, won a $2.5 million contract to develop a TSA PreCheck self-screening concept at airports.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said the idea is to allow airline passengers to screen themselves, “similar to self-checkout at grocery stores,” according to a statement from senior official Kathryn Coulter Mitchell.

It’s aimed at increasing security, reducing wait times and improving the experience for travelers. The technology is also expected to reduce the need for pat downs and reduce Transportation Security Administration officers’ workload. That would help streamline PreCheck, which is TSA’s “trusted traveler” program for expedited screening.

Netherlands-based Vanderlande said its system starts with a virtual assistant displaying an instructional video for screening their items, with remote agent support via video call. Then the passenger would go through a body scanner and be notified if any additional screening is required.

Vanderlande will build a prototype of an automated checkpoint for the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, which works to find new technology that could be used for homeland security and is funding research and development to improve security screening.

It’s one of several contracts with different companies that DHS has funded to develop concepts the agency will evaluate as it seeks to bring more automation to checkpoints. The agency first tests prototypes at its transportation security laboratory and a TSA innovation facility, then aims to demonstrate prototypes for the traveling public, likely at its “innovation checkpoint” at the Las Vegas Harry Reid International Airport.

Vanderlande said it is partnering with aviation security technology firms Rohde & Schwarz and dormakaba Group on the concept.

If the technology is successful, it could be rolled out at other airports such as Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta.

“Automated passenger screening stations will keep travelers and (TSA officers) safer in pandemic situations like the one we face today, as well as create a faster, more convenient experience for airline passengers,” said DHS program manager John Fortune in a statement.

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