Rome Laboratory technology may soon speed border crossings

Released: Apr 3, 1997

ROME, N.Y. (AFNS) -- Speech processing technology developed by the Air Force's Rome Laboratory may soon put motorists who make frequent border crossings in the fast lane.

The In-Vehicle Voice Verification System, developed under a partnership with the laboratory's Intelligence Analysis Branch, the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the New York State Technology Enterprise Corporation was completed Feb. 28.

Rome Laboratory engineers and NYSTEC officials conducted a technology evaluation and demonstration to develop the initial components of a prototype, biometric-based voice verification system for automated border crossing. Biometrics is the automated measuring of one or more specific attributes or features of a person -- such as voice, fingerprint, infrared facial images or hand geometry -- with the intent of being able to distinguish that individual from all others.

The program's goal was to evaluate the potential of applying Rome Laboratory's extensive speech processing technology toward the development of a proof-of-concept IVVVS for automated border control. The system incorporates an infrared, or IR, transmitter device for communicating from a moving vehicle with a fixed computer work station which receives the IR signal and performs voice verification.

Voice data from a moving vehicle was collected using the IR transmitter device and then processed with Rome Laboratory's unique algorithms that were able to successfully perform voice verification.

The hand-held, proof-of-concept unit has the potential of becoming operational at the Otay Mesa, Calif., border crossing, one of the ports of entry between the United States and Mexico.

A dedicated commuter lane has been established at Otay Mesa to demonstrate and develop automated border crossing techniques. The technologies, processes and products developed at this test site could become the baseline system requirements for automated border crossing requirements at other federal and state government sites.

"With this successful proof of concept, a follow-on program will begin within the next few months to evaluate the effectiveness of the technology for border crossings," said Maria Amodio, a computer engineer and technology transfer liaison in the laboratory's directorate of intelligence and reconnaissance.

"Current plans call for production of between 25 and 50 hand-held devices. As a technology experiment, frequent travelers at the Otay Mesa crossing will obtain the unit from INS, receive training on its use, and utilize the device for approximately one month."

This second phase of the program is expected to be completed by the end of September.