The week after the 2016 election, drivers exiting the United States at the Nogales border crossing would have noticed something out of the ordinary. A new canopy had been set up over the far-right lane of the checkpoint with an ad-hoc wiring system supporting multiple DSLR cameras. The cameras were trained at the road and activated by an array of ambient light sensors, range finders, and remote speedometers. As cars approached the turnstile, the cameras would capture a clear shot of the driver's face through the windshield, images that researchers would later use to develop an experimental facial recognition system designed for use at the border.
Now, that system is getting ready for a more permanent installation. In August, Customs and Border Protection will deploy a new system for scanning drivers' faces as they leave the US, The Verge has learned. The pilot, called the Vehicle Face System (or VFS), is planned for installation at the Anzalduas border crossing at the southern tip of Texas and scheduled to remain in operation for a full year. The project is currently moving through the necessary privacy reviews, and it is set to be officially announced and submitted to the Federal Register in the coming months.