The Transportation Security Administration, along with American Airlines, is trying out a 3D scanner that could possibly lead to safer flights, shorter queues, and leniency with carry-on luggage.
The TSA is currently conducting a demonstration of new computed tomography (CT) scanners in the single checkpoint late at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in a move to heighten security efforts and threat detection capabilities.
In partnership with American Airlines, the TSA’s demonstration of its new technology is being conducted through its Innovation Task Force.
“Enhancing aviation security is a shared responsibility,” said American Airlines Senior Vice President for Customer Experience Kerry Philipovitch regarding the collaboration with the TSA.
The new CT screening machine has the capability to provide 3D images that can be viewed and rotated for a thorough analysis. It does so by shooting hundreds of images using an X-ray camera that spins around the conveyor belt to get a complete photo of the item to be scanned.
In its current state, the machine uses specific and sophisticated algorithms that can detect explosives, firearms, and other banned items for carry-on luggage. However, if further inspection is required on a specific item, the TSA agents may still open and inspect the contents of a bag in order to ensure that it does not contain any dangerous item.
Apart from gaining more security, using the CT scanners for carry-on luggage could significantly reduce inspection time for carry-on luggage. What’s more, it could eventually lead to more lenient rules when it comes to bringing liquids or even laptops in carry-on luggage.
This technology isn’t exactly new as it is already being used for luggage. However, due to the cost and its larger size, the TSA has held back on using the scanner for carry-on luggage until now.
The next airport to possibly test the scanner later in the month is the Logan International Airport.
The TSA’s partnership with American Airlines is part of U.S. officials’ initiative to ensure security in the country.
For instance, the laptop ban on carry-on bags was done based on intelligence reports that terrorist groups are developing bombs that are made to look like laptop batteries. And since carry-on bags do not undergo the same CT scans as checked-in luggage, laptops and tablets were banned on the cabins of flights from certain Middle Eastern and African nations going into the United States.
The TSA’s Innovation Task Force is continuously working with both private and public sectors to create a more secure and less invasive travel experience.
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