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Officials at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport this week announced the launch of a new technology that will allow its passengers to verify their identity with their eyes or fingers.

Described as a means of “bringing a frictionless and predictable travel experience to the Research Triangle region,” RDU officials have partnered with CLEAR, a privately-owned company that uses “biometrics identity verification technology,” to screen airport passengers.

The technology replaces the need for travelers to take out their wallet and driver’s license, according to an RDU press release made public Wednesday.

Officials say the identity technology will create 44 jobs at RDU and generate about $2.6 million annually to the local economy.

“RDU is proud to partner with CLEAR to provide travelers another option to expedite the security screening process,” Michael Landguth, president and chief executive officer of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority, stated in the release. “RDU’s commitment to leveraging technology to provide our guests with a world class experience makes CLEAR an excellent fit.”

CLEAR’s website notes that the U.S. Travel Safety Administration PreCheck (TSA PreCheck), is a federal program that identifies travelers deemed low-risk through a security threat assessment. Passengers approved for TSA PreCheck are allowed “to pass through an expedited security screening at U.S. airports nationwide with no need to remove shoes, laptops, 3-1-1 liquids, belts or light jackets.”

By comparison, CLEAR members can “step right up to a CLEAR pod” and verify their identity through their eyes or fingerprint instead of waiting to show their government issued photo identification.

“Many of our members find that these two services complement each other — providing the quickest, surest route through the airport,” according to CLEAR’s website.

Of course, a goodly number of folks, sans TSA PreCheck status—and even with a CLEAR membership—will have to continue to go through RDU’s security checkpoints that are monitored by TSA employees, Crystal Feldman, an RDU spokeswoman told the INDY.

Still, RDU passengers who are CLEAR members are directed to dedicated lanes where there is a shorter wait to have their identity verified with biometric technology, Feldman said. 

It costs about $16 a month to become a member of CLEAR Plus. Membership allows RDU travelers access to the company’s “expedited verification lanes.”

After passengers’ identities are verified through the eye and finger technology, “a CLEAR Ambassador escorts members through the dedicated lane and directly to TSA physical security, saving them time waiting in line at the security checkpoint.”

Caryn Seidman-Becker, CLEAR’s chief executive officer said the identity company is “obsessed with creating friction-free experiences,” and noted that its start Wednesday at RDU marks the “50th airport” to adopt the technology whose aim is to help passengers travel safely through RDU and easily affirm their identity at the security checkpoint.

According to Wednesday’s release, CLEAR was founded in 2010, and now has more than 14 million members and hundreds of partners around the world who use the identity platform “at the airport, stadium, or right on your phone.”

The release did not make clear if RDU is the 50th airport in the United States or globally to adopt the technology.

“Our launch today is the start of a strong partnership with the airport to deliver an outstanding passenger experience,” Seidman-Becker said.

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