TSA Checkpoints Initiate 3D Laser Scanning Services to Enhance Explosives Detection
Fewer Bag Searches Expected
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced on April 1 that it had installed computed tomography (CT) checkpoint scanners at Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC) in Rochester, New York, which provide 3D laser scanning services. The machines, like current CT technology for checked baggage, create such a clear picture of a bag’s contents that computers can automatically detect explosives, including liquids.
How 3D Laser Scanning Services are Being Used by the TSA
Six CT X-ray 3D scanning units have been installed at one of the airport’s checkpoints and are expected to provide critical explosives detection capabilities in each lane.
The systems use algorithms to detect explosives by generating a 3D image that can be rotated 360 degrees on three axes and viewed by a transportation security officer for thorough visual image analysis. A TSA officer will manually inspect a carry-on bag if it requires additional screening.
According to the TSA, the checkpoint X-ray scanning equipment uses similar technology to that used in the medical field. Currently, the TSA relies on 2D imaging technology, but CT 3D scanning technology allows for more accurate threat detection. In addition, the machines create a clear picture of a bag’s contents so that computers can detect explosives. During future checkpoint screenings, the TSA hopes to keep laptops and 3-1-1 liquids inside a carry-on bag.
According to the TSA, this new technology creates such a clear image of a bag’s contents that it can automatically detect explosives, including liquids, by taking hundreds of images with an X-ray camera spinning around the conveyor belt to give TSA officers three-dimensional views of the contents of a carry-on bag.
The TSA hopes that using CT 3D scanning services technology at checkpoints will result in fewer bag searches. In addition, passengers using these machines at ROC can keep their laptops and other electronic devices in their carry-on bags.
TSA awarded Analogic two orders in March 2022 for base and full-size CT X-ray 3D laser scan systems for carry-on items at TSA checkpoints, with a total value of up to $781.2 million. They estimate that up to 469 base and 469 full-size systems will be awarded. To allow for increased passenger throughput, full-size CT systems have fully automated screening lanes with parallel divestiture stations, automated bin return, and high threat containment. In the summer of 2022, the TSA plans to start deploying base and full-size systems at airport checkpoints.
TSA awarded Analogic Corporation $198 million to purchase mid-size CT X-ray 3D scanning systems in August 2021. TSA checkpoints all over the country are currently getting these systems installed. As a result, TSA officers can manipulate 3D laser scanning services imagery on a computer screen to better view a bag’s contents and, in some cases, clear items without having to open a carry-on bag.