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

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The AVATAR system generates a virtual border agent who interviews passengers on arrival.

The Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time (AVATAR) identifies and questions suspicious international travelers.

University of Arizona researchers, working with the National Center for Border Security and Immigration (BORDERS), have developed a virtual border agent to identify and question suspicious international travelers.

The screening system, called Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time (AVATAR), has been installed in a kiosk at Henri Coanda International Airport in Bucharest, Romania. The avatar conducts brief interviews with travelers as soon as they disembark from flights into Bucharest, monitoring respondents' body language and verbal replies to identify irregular behavior that warrants further investigation.

The researchers say the screening technology eventually could be used at land ports of entry, airports, detention centers, and visa-processing offices. "The Romanian border police have been invaluable by providing access to their facilities, officers, and cadets," says BORDERS executive director Elyse Golob.

Results from the field test in Romania will be used to shape how the AVATAR system could be used in the future. "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 BORDERS director Jay Nunamaker.

From UA News (AZ)
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