LAX testing facial recognition technology to speed up check-in process


The Transportation Security Administration has launched a three-week test to see if biometrics can help speed up the check-in process at Los Angeles International Airport.

But don’t expect to see a big difference yet.

As part of the test, the TSA has installed two new gates at the Tom Bradley International Terminal that require passengers to run their passports and their boarding passes over a scanner before they can proceed. The test began Wednesday.

The technology at the new gates will confirm that the names on the passports match the names on the boarding passes.


Newer passports are embedded with microchips that include a digital photo of the passport’s owner. 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, the TSA said.

The two gates are being used for only a few hours a day to see how fast and accurate the new technology is. Travelers who are given the green light to pass through the new gates must have TSA officers verify their identity.

“TSA expects that facial recognition may help reduce dependencies on TSA personnel and expedite security processes, resulting in shorter lines and reduced wait times,” according to a memo from the TSA.

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