TSA to Install CT Scanners That Create 3-D Images of Bag Contents at 15 Airports

The security agency will deploy the initial units in the next few months and a total of 40 CT scanners by the end of the year.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will expand the use of computed tomography (CT) scanners at airport security checkpoints to enhance threat detection capabilities for carry-on baggage.

The TSA has been promoting the deployment of CT scanners to more easily identify explosives and weapons hidden in carry-on bags and to speed up the screening process.

CT scanners have long been used in hospitals for medical imaging and are now used to screen checked luggage in the nation’s airports. But they have only recently been tested to screen carry-on bags because the units are now small enough to fit in airport checkpoints.

The security agency announced plans to add units in 15 airports in the next few months and a total of 40 CT scanners by the end of the year, increasing to 145 units by the end of fiscal year 2019. The scanners will be paid for by a $71-million fund added by the Trump administration to the 2019 fiscal year budget.

“TSA is committed in getting the best technology to enhance security and improve the screening experience. Use of CT technology substantially improves TSA’s threat detection capability at the checkpoint,” states TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “By leveraging strong partnerships with industry, we are able to deploy new technology quickly and see an immediate improvement in security effectiveness.”

The CT scanner can create 3-D images of the contents of a bag, allowing TSA officers to rotate the images to better analyze the contents. In the future, the CT scanner may allow passengers to leave laptops and liquids inside of their carry-on bags, TSA officials say. An algorithm used by the scanner also alerts TSA officers to possible explosives in the bags.

The first 15 CT scanners will be deployed at 15 airports across the country, including Los Angeles Int’l, Oakland Int’l, San Diego Int’l, McCarran Int’l and Chicago O’Hare Int’l.

The TSA began testing CT scanners last year at Phoenix Sky Harbor Int’l Airport and Boston’s Logan Int’l Airport. A third unit was deployed at John F. Kennedy Int’l Airport earlier this week.

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