MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The TSA expects to screen the highest number of travelers in a decade during this spring break travel period, so to speed things up their considering new scanners for carry-on bags.
The machines produce 3D images similar to CT scans – something considered game changing.
Machines used today would make it impossible to spot a knife in a bag but the new 3D CT Technology, which provides side-by-side images on a touch screen that can zoom and spin a bag for a true 360 degree view, would make it easier to spot.
Mark Laustra is a vice president at Analogic, one of about five companies developing CT scanners for airport checkpoints.
As for radiation, Laustra said the machines produce the same amount as the system that is at the checkpoint now.
The machines can detect explosives in laptops, liquids, and gels, which means the days of having to take things out of your carry-on bag could be numbered. The clearer picture of what is inside should reduce the need for secondary bag checks.
When paired with new automated lanes already being tested at airports, Analogic believes the CT scanners should increase productivity at checkpoints by as much as 50-percent.
A 2015 internal review revealed that TSA officers failed to detect 95-percent of fake explosives and weapons smuggled through checkpoints by undercover investigators.
“I think it’s going to be tremendously better,” said the TSA’s Chief Technology Officer Steve Karoly.
He says the CT technology has promise, but more testing is needed before it can be rolled out.
“It may look good, just we’ll say specific portions of it, but these technologies have to meet not just the technical requirements, but safety requirements, operational requirements,” said Karoly.
TSA and American Airlines expect to test the new scanners in major airports over the summer – about six months behind schedule.