The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is testing a scanner that provides three-dimensional images of baggage contents at American Airlines’ security checkpoint at New York’s JFK airport.
The computed tomography (CT) scanner generates 3D images that TSA agents can rotate on three axes to examine items contained in hand and carryon luggage. The CT scanner will be tested at a single JFK security checkpoint lane in cooperation with American Airlines.
The technology is similar to that already used to scan checked luggage for explosives, with the equipment sized down to be used effectively at TSA security checkpoints.
The scanner creates “such a clear image of a bag’s contents that the system can automatically detect explosives, including liquids, by shooting hundreds of images with an X-ray camera spinning around the conveyor belt,” according to TSA.
“Use of CT technology substantially improves TSA’s threat detection capability at a checkpoint,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske.
The equipment also is being tested at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport. CBS News reports that TSA hopes to have 15 of the CT scanners installed this year and hundreds in place by 2019.
“We think in perhaps five years or so, the passengers won’t have to take anything out of their carry-on bags,” Pekoske told CBS News.
“What it’s capable of doing is detecting a wider range of explosives, which is very important, [as well as] a much lower weight of explosives. They’re just much better at detection, so you really get better security faster, essentially.”