Motevalli Quoted in Wall Street Journal Article


Last month, Vahid Motevalli , Tennessee Tech College of Engineering Associate Dean for Research and MotevalliInnovation , was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article on airport screening. Before coming to TTU, Motevalli was one of the founders of the George Washington University Aviation Institute. He has also served as project director for the International Aviation Safety and Security Summit program and has worked as a consultant on several high-level aviation security initiatives.


Introducing advanced technology for airport security continues to be a challenge in the United States and elsewhere. The Wall Street Journal’s article discusses a day when airport screeners will be replaced by automation, using biometrics and other techniques to scrutinize passengers and their luggage as they make their way to boarding. Experts envision a day when the boarding pass will be obsolete, and a passenger’s facial features will effectively serve as their ID.


Motevalli expressed a belief that using biometrics and automation helps with positive passenger identification, faster processing and screening of passengers and more accurate detection of banned items.   Automation will help human screeners to avoid errors. “People get tired, bored, and more prone to making errors,” said Motevalli, in regards to introducing automation.


In recent years, the Transportation Security Agency has caught a lot of heat, both from the public and from its own watchdogs. From 2010 to 2012, TSA employees were cited nearly 2,000 times for security breaches such as allowing passengers or baggage to skirt screening altogether.


While biometrics is very difficult to defeat, sole reliance on automation takes the human element out of the loop which can create new vulnerabilities.


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