Computed Tomography

The Transportation Security Administration is collaborating with airlines and industry to test and deploy Computed Tomography technology to security checkpoints.

The TSA awarded Smiths Detection, Inc. of Edgewood, Md., a $96.8 million contract for 300 Computed Tomography systems and associated ancillary equipment and services over five years. The award reflects active collaboration with industry to deploy CT technology to the field under the TSA Advanced Technology X-ray program.

The state-of-the-art scanner applies sophisticated algorithms for the detection of explosives and other threats to commercial aviation by creating a 3-D image, which can be rotated on three axes for a thorough visual image analysis by a TSA X-ray operator. If a bag requires further screening, TSA officers will inspect it to ensure that a threat item is not contained inside. OAK is one of only 15 airports nationwide and the only airport in the Bay Area where TSA is testing this type of technology in the security checkpoint.

CT units are the latest checkpoint X-ray scanning technology designed to enhance threat detection capabilities for carry-on baggage as TSA continues to raise the baseline for aviation security. The technology is similar to CT technology used in the medical field.

TSA currently uses CT technology to screen checked baggage, but is just beginning to use it in the security checkpoint. The scanning technology is able to detect shapes and densities of items including bulk and liquid explosives that could be a threat to commercial aviation.

TSA’s current screening technology for carry-on bags uses 2-D images. TSA plans to have up to 40 units in place at airports around the nation by the end of the year, along with an additional 16 units at federal testing facilities. TSA expects to have more than 145 units installed at airports by the end of fiscal year 2019.

In addition to OAK, TSA is testing this equipment at Baltimore Washington International-Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI); Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD); Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG); William P. Hobby Airport (HOU); Indianapolis International Airport (IND); John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK); Boston Logan International Airport (BOS); Los Angeles International Airport (LAX); Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS); Philadelphia International Airport (PHL); Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX); San Diego International Airport (SAN); St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL); and Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD).

For the most up-to-date information about CT and to view a video of the 3-D X-ray image, visit TSA’s “Emerging Technologies” webpage

All content © 2019, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.  

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