The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on Tuesday began a new pilot evaluation of face recognition technology at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, part of its ongoing efforts to examine how to best incorporate the technology into its screening processes.

Under the 30-day pilot, TSA will determine how well a camera and face recognition algorithm automate the identity verification at the Travel Document Checker (TDC) for travelers in the PreCheck lane that volunteer to participate. The live photo captured of each individual at the TDC station will be automatically compared to the photo from the traveler’s credential that is placed in the Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) device.

TSA is deploying CAT devices to its TDC stations to authenticate travel documents and link to the agency’s Secure Flight database to determine the risk level of each traveler.

For the McCarran pilot, the CAT device will be equipped with a camera (CAT-C). IDEMIA is the prime contractor for the CAT systems and will also supply the facial recognition algorithm for the pilot, a TSA spokeswoman told Defense Daily on Tuesday.

A privacy impact assessment released by the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday said that once the CAT-C contains a match of an individual the TSA personnel staffing the station will direct the person to the standard TDC for manual identity and travel document verification.

TSA will collect travelers’ facial images and certain biographic information from their identity documents to eventual “qualitative and quantitative analysis by” DHS Science and Technology (S&T) as part of the pilot project. The privacy statement said that some of the data provided to S&T will be “obfuscated,” including the identification document number, passenger name on the document, date of birth on the document, and any “typewritten personally identifiable information scanned from the face page of the identification document presented.”

TSA also said it will “collect operational metrics such as processing time and authentication rates,” according to the privacy notice. “The operational data will be used to evaluate the potential operational impacts of using the CAT-C system for TDC operations.”

The new biometric evaluation follows an initial proof-of-concept last year at Los Angeles International Airport that used cameras integrated with automated electronic security gates to capture a live photo that was compared to the facial image from the traveler’s electronic passport.

TSA is also testing facial recognition technology at a checkpoint lane in Terminal F at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. This evaluation is being conducted with Customs and Border Protection, which operates the Traveler Verification System (TVS), which houses a gallery of photos for travelers on departing international flights. The live photos captured at the TSA security checkpoint are searched against the TVS for a match.

For the Atlanta biometric evaluations, passengers can choose to have their photo taken instead of providing identification documents. If there is a match against the TVS, the information is sent to a tablet used by a TSA officer who then will verify the identity of the traveler and direct the person to a physical screening lane.

CBP, in conjunction with its airport and airline stakeholders, are using facial recognition to help automate the departure process at boarding gates for some international flights. The agency is also shifting more of its biometric screening of travelers arriving to the U.S. on international flights to face recognition and relying less on fingerprint-based checks of foreign nationals.