RFID, Detection Technology May Shorten Lines
Human beings are impatient
creatures... and few things flare that impatience like today's air
travel experience. Believe it or not, some airports are actually
exploring ways to speed and simplify their parking-lot-to-gate
process without sacrificing security.
Officials at Manchester Airport in the UK have been
experimenting with the use of radio frequency identification (RFID)
tags to track passenger movements.
About 50,000 volunteers have carried the tags for the six-month
trial period, according to The Telegraph. A full rollout of the
program will result in RFID tags being attached to all Manchester
boarding passes. Other airports are expected to follow suit in the
next couple of years.
A BAA spokesman said the tags will help airports find missing
passengers and reduce flight delays as just one missing traveler
can lead to take-off positions being missed.
Dr. Paul Brennan of the University College of London added, "It
is intended to make sure that everybody gets to the flight in time.
Delays are costing the industry $1,979,022 million a year."
RFID tags are currently being used at a number of airports to
On this side of the pond, the San Jose Mineta Airport will, come
April, become the first Bay Area airport to install shoe scanners,
moving the need to remove one's shoes at security checkpoints and
speeding the trip to the gate.
The shoe scanner is similar to an MRI and can, literally, smell
feet for explosives, according to San Francisco's KGO-TV. The
airport was one of the first to implement Clear, the Registered
Traveler program developed by Verified Identity Pass, Inc. that
performs a background check, collects fingerprints, performs face
recognition and an eye scan for $100 a year.
It does speed things up a bit... but GE Security says that
process still takes too long.
"We think it should be possible to get a passenger through here
in 20 seconds or less" said Steve Hill, GE Security.
So, in the near future, passengers will be able to keep their
keys, belt and coat on by entering a scanning booth that uses
millimeter wave technology to deal with these items -- while you
wear them. Then, you'll go through a medical CT scanner for
carry-ons -- one that won't harm your laptop computer. or require
it's removal from its bag.
Improvements like these just might make going through an airport
fun again. Or at least tolerable...