The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Screening at Speed Program received the Federal Laboratory Consortium’s (FLC) Interagency Partnership Award on June 22, 2022, for their collaborative work to develop and commercialize the High Definition-Advanced Imaging Technology (HD-AIT) and Shoe Scanner systems for air travelers. The national award also named S&T’s Transportation Security Laboratory (TSL), the DHS Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Department of Energy Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory, and the NASA Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation for their combined effort with Screening at Speed to develop and commercialize these technologies.
S&T’s Screening at Speed Program applies transformative research and development to assist TSA in increasing aviation security effectiveness from curb to gate, while dramatically reducing wait times and improving the passenger experience. They oversaw the maturation of the HD-AIT and Shoe Scanner hardware and software, the development of open software standards for third-party algorithm integration, the funding and management of a $1.5 million prize competition for algorithm development, and commercialization of the technology.
The HD-AIT system provides higher resolution passenger screening, reduces false alarms, and is built on an open architecture to enable rapid technology updates and third-party development. These advancements will allow passengers to be screened at airports without having to remove light sweaters or jackets and will reduce the number of pat-downs required to effectively screen travelers. Similarly, the Shoe Scanner uses the HD-AIT technology to penetrate footwear without travelers needing to remove shoes for screeners to detect concealed objects. Both screening systems will improve the efficiency and accuracy of airport checkpoints. In March 2021, Liberty Defense Holdings Ltd., Atlanta, was granted a license to commercialize both technologies.
“Through the extraordinary efforts of numerous individuals and multiple agencies, national laboratories, and industry partners, the HD-AIT and Shoe Scanner systems progressed from functional prototypes to commercialized technology that can be used at airports to improve the safety, security and travelling experience of the 2.5 million daily air travelers who pass through TSA checkpoints,” said Dr. John Fortune, S&T’s Screening at Speed program manager. “The commercialization of the Shoe Scanner and HD-AIT system are prime examples of how interagency cooperation can mature technology to respond to the nation’s toughest challenges.”
For more information about S&T’s innovation programs and tools, visit https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/work-with-st.