DHS Buys Sensor Tech to Measure Wait Times and Traveler Flow at Airports

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The agency will use it to gain a “granular view” of passenger flow through international customs.

The Homeland Security Department awarded KickView Corporation a phase I contract to provide real-time sensor data and analysis of how travelers move through the international customs processing areas at U.S. airports. 

The Colorado-based start-up will adapt its multi-sensor artificial intelligent software platform to enhance airport security as it aims to offer U.S. Customs and Border Protection a “granular view” of how passengers flow as they travel. 

“KickView’s proposal is to leverage video feeds to perform object detection, tracking, fusion and analytics customized to the customer need,” said Melissa Oh, the managing director of DHS Science and Technology’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program, the group that awarded the contract. “Preventing bottlenecks in the queues would enhance the speed and efficacy of CBP customs processing in airports.”

In the original solicitation published in 2017, Homeland Security officials noted that CBP did not have a strong method to evaluate wait times and queue lengths for each step of the international arrivals process, “with lane level fidelity.” The agency said it aimed to identify cutting-edge techniques and solutions that could be deployed more broadly throughout travelers’ experiences in airports.“This capability gap prevents CBP from providing international travelers with highly accurate estimated wait-times upon arrival and prevents integrated services such as routing passengers to the shortest available queue,” the agency wrote. “Automated counting and measuring systems can provide near real-time situational awareness to airport stakeholders about traveler wait times, traveler movement within a region of interest, and the speed of airport processes such as security checkpoints.”

KickView will use video, sensors and its existing AI software platform to perform real-time assessments of line lengths and wait times, particularly in airport areas where international customs are processed. The company already leverages the technology to offer event and threat alerts as they arise and it will ultimately aim to collect, process and gain insights from the data captured in real-time. 

The contract was awarded through Homeland Security’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program, which renders participating vendors eligible for up to $800,000 in funding over four phases, to harness innovative commercial technologies for federal applications. KickView received $147,413 in this initial phase of funding.