Port of Seattle tests robot technology to speed security line

Pilot program to augment trained personnel by assisting passengers pre-screening

On Tuesday, July 11th, passengers departing from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport saw a robot providing tips for getting through security just a little bit faster. Through audio instructions in English and on-screen animated instructions in six different languages, the robot reminded passengers to remove items such as scarves, light jackets and belts and empty their pockets before going through screening.

For the pilot program, Sea-Tac officials will track the number of times passengers trigger the body scanner alarm during and after the robot test. The robot is not designed to replace humans! The technology augments the work of human beings, allowing them to spend more time on critical security tasks.

The robot also made a cameo appearance on Wednesday, July 12, when Sea-Tac Airport Aviation Director Lance Lyttle welcomed aviation and airport professionals to the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) Innovation Forum. The forum connects airport and aviation professionals with innovation and technology professionals to shape the future of airports.

The robot pilot program is an example of how Sea-Tac airport embraces technology, science and operational innovations. To improve customer service, Sea-Tac added indoor navigation technology to our free wi-fi splash page to show travelers their location in the terminal, Sea-Tac’s Business Intelligence Unit has helped operations and other front-line staff deploy new in-house mobile apps to track and prioritize maintenance and construction issues in real time, and has made our airport passenger and cargo data from 2016 more accessible through an interactive dashboard. Behind the scenes, Sea-Tac uses technology to keep our runways and airfield clear of foreign objects, improve communications with airlines, and was a pioneer in the use of avian radar to prevent bird strikes.