The Sky Beneath our Feet by Clayton Merrill at the Greater Pittsburgh International Airport

For travelers who like to plan ahead, and those who enjoy the thrill of arriving with no time to spare, Pittsburgh International Airport has rolled out a new, A.I.-enhanced service from Zensors to let flyers know how long they’ll wait in security lines.

On Wednesday, the Allegheny County Airport Authority announced a new partnership with the Downtown-based startup Zensors to provide smart management of the building’s security checkpoints.

The company, a spin-off from Carnegie Mellon University, uses sensors, cameras and an artificial intelligence platform to collect and analyze data from human movements through offices, restaurants and the occasional transport hub — essentially any business with public spaces. The resulting information helps businesses maximize their space and increase efficiency.

For the airport, the company is using data collected from cameras to estimate wait times at the three main lines at the building’s primary security checkpoint. Their analytics platform is able to estimate wait times within roughly two minutes. Those times are displayed on screens throughout the terminal and on

Pittsburgh International Airport is the first airport in the country to apply Zensors’ system.

“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 via a press release. “We know security can be a frustration for travelers and having accurate wait estimates can help set expectations and aid in planning trips.”

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

The partnership is just the latest of several innovative design initiatives underway at the airport. Last week, the airport opened Presley’s Place, a sensory-friendly space for travelers with special needs, and in May, the airport debuted NavCog, a smartphone-based app to help blind passengers navigate the terminal.

Bill O'Toole was a full-time reporter for NEXTpittsburgh until October, 2019. He previously reported in Myanmar.