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UA-Developed Avatar Is Helping to Screen New Arrivals at Bucharest Airport


The kiosk-based screening system uses an avatar to interview travelers and identify those who might be suspicious.

The Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time system, which uses a virtual border agent to question international travelers and then flag those that seem suspicious, is being tested at Henri Coanda International Airport in Bucharest, Romania.

Credit: UA News

University of Arizona (UA) researchers have developed the Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time (AVATAR) system, which uses a virtual border agent to question international travelers and then flag those that seem suspicious.

AVATAR has been installed in a kiosk at Henri Coanda International Airport in Bucharest, Romania. The avatar conducts brief interviews with travelers after they disembark from flights into Bucharest, monitoring their body language and verbal replies to identify irregular behavior that warrants further investigation. The avatar speaks to travelers in their native language and asks country-specific visa questions while measuring behavior, physiology, and verbal responses. Its screening technology could be used at land ports of entry, airports, detention centers, and visa processing offices.

Border security experts from Romania and European Union Agency member states also are involved in the field test, as well as students from the Alexandru Ioan Cuza Police Academy and researchers from several European universities.

"We are thrilled to get the AVATAR into a real-world testing scenario and to see how people interact with the technology in an airport setting," says Jay Nunamaker, director of UA's National Center for Border Security and Immigration and principal investigator for AVATAR.

From UA News (AZ)
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