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TSA Introduces Explosives Detection Test Program

Source: Mario Tama / Getty

Many of you already know the pains of going through the routine security checks in airports across the country and worldwide. It looks like you can look forward to no longer having to remove your laptop from your carry on bag.

According to Bloomberg Government, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), are updating the current scanners in many airport security checkpoints. The new scanners will utilize computed tomography or CT. This means that air passengers at a growing number of U.S. airports will no longer need to remove electronics, liquids, and other items from their carry-on luggage at security checkpoints.

“The TSA has taken a major step in a broader plan to revamp its overall screening process with faster, more advanced technology when it signed the contract Thursday for hundreds of new carry-on baggage screening machines,” Administrator David Pekoske said on a press call Friday.

The technology has been tested at several airports around the country, including the infamous JFK in New York, since 2017. The current x-ray technology is only capable of creating a 2-D image and this often results in requiring further inspection of certain items. With CT, the creation of a 3-D image of the items occur, thus making it easy to identify which items have to come out of the bag, if necessary.  The purpose of this technology is to allow TSA personnel to “see beyond unwanted clutter” making it possible to properly identify the contents of a piece of luggage and move through the process quicker and more efficiently.

“It’s not a little bit better, it’s a lot better,” Pekoske said of the technology.

While the CT pilot program didn’t show reduced wait times at participating airports, the agency is expecting the technology will speed up lines as passengers and staffers get used to the new processes. Pekoske said he expected more staff to be needed initially as the new machines are put in place. In total, the agency expects to replace its more than 2,000 X-ray machines with the CT equipment over the next eight years, he said.

The new technology is slated to circulate this summer. The $97 million contract will buy 300 machines, but the list of airports receiving them has yet to be made final.

President Donald Trump called for another 300 CT machines to be funded in his fiscal 2020 budget request released earlier this month.

Source: Complex, Bloomberg Goverment