TSA Testing New X-Ray Scanners to Reduce Bag Checks

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By on August 6, 2018 in Agency News with 0 Comments

The Transportation Security Agency announced recently that it is testing a new 3-D bag screening technology at select U.S. airport checkpoints. The hope is that the new scanners will result in the need for fewer manual bag checks.

The scanners are called computed tomography scanners (CT), and the system applies sophisticated algorithms for the detection of explosives and creates a 3-D image that can be viewed and rotated on three axes for thorough visual image analysis by a TSA officer. The technology is similar to CT technology used in the medical field, and the TSA said that research shows that CT is the most consequential technology available today for airport checkpoints.

Computed Tomography (CT) scanner being demonstrated to scan a luggage bag at an airport security checkpoint

Demonstration of Computed Tomography (CT) X-ray scanning equipment

In the future, passengers may also be able to leave laptops and liquids in their carry-on bags as a result of the technology if it proves worthwhile.

“TSA is committed in getting the best technology to enhance security and improve the screening experience. Use of CT technology substantially improves TSA’s threat detection capability at the checkpoint,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “By leveraging strong partnerships with industry, we are able to deploy new technology quickly and see an immediate improvement in security effectiveness.”

Initial CT Unit Deployments

TSA plans to have up to 40 units in place at airports around the nation by the end of the year, along with 16 units at federal testing facilities. More than 145 will be in airports by the end of fiscal year 2019.

The initial 15 units are being deployed to the following airports, with other airports receiving units in the coming months:

  • Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI)
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
  • Houston Hobby Airport (HOU)
  • Indianapolis International Airport (IND)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • McCarran International Airport (LAS)
  • Oakland International Airport (OAK)
  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN)
  • St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL)
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD)

Map of the United States showing the 15 airport locations where the TSA plans to initially deploy the first CT scanner units

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.

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