New technology will keep Pittsburgh airport travelers better-informed of wait times | TribLIVE.com
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New technology will keep Pittsburgh airport travelers better-informed of wait times

Michael DiVittorio
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Waiting in line at Pittsburgh International Airport security may get a little easier thanks to new technology.

Travelers could soon be able to tell, within about two minutes, the amount of time they have to wait in any of the three lines at the airport’s primary security checkpoint.

The improved time estimates are courtesy of technology developed by Pittsburgh software firm Zensors and made available through a partnership between the company and the Allegheny County Airport Authority.

Zensors is a Carnegie Mellon University spin out company. Anuraag Jain, head of product at the company, studied at the university’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute.

“Airports are a perfect use case for this type of technology,” Jain said. “We’re applying deep learning in a way that can really become a game-changer for passengers and airport operations. We’re excited to help turn Pittsburgh into the world’s smartest airport.”

Authorities said the technology includes a specially trained neural network that continually observes and learns how long passengers are waiting in line while weighing factors such as time of day and number of TSA agents on duty.

Estimated wait times are updated every minute, and arrows indicate whether times are increasing or decreasing.

Pittsburgh International Airport is the first airport in the country to utilize Zensors’ unique technology in measuring line length.

Airport spokesman Bob Kerlik said start-up costs for the technology are about $3,200 and $540 a month after that.

Times will be displayed on screens throughout the landside terminal as well as on the airport’s website, flypittsburgh.com.

Wait times at the alternate checkpoint will be added later as cameras are installed.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to improve the passenger experience, especially with the innovative use of emerging technologies developed right here in Pittsburgh,” said Pittsburgh International Airport CEO Christina Cassotis. “We know security can be a frustration for travelers, and having accurate wait estimates can help set expectations and aid in planning trips.”

Pittsburgh International Airport serves more than 9 million passengers annually on 16 airlines.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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