The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is announcing a major technology investment to get you moving through security faster. And it could be in place as soon as this summer.
Upgraded X-Ray Scanners
The $781.2 million project covers two orders of upgraded Computed Tomography (CT) x-ray scanners. The futuristic scanners can create 3D images of objects inside carry-on bags, allowing agents to rotate the image to gain a better view of it. This will make it easier for TSA agents to detect weapons or other banned items in bags. The TSA hopes this enhanced view will decrease the need for passengers to take certain items out of their carry-on bags, which will hopefully cut down on the time it takes you to get through security.
“These awards are another important step in enhancing aviation security” explains TSA Administrator David Pekoske, “They provide our dedicated frontline officers with one of the best tools available to screen passenger carry-on items and also improves the passenger experience by allowing passengers to keep more items in their carry-on bags during the screening process.”
The new CT x-ray machines aren’t expected to have much impact on TSA PreCheck passengers, as they are already allowed to keep most items inside of their bags while going through security.
The TSA is ordering just shy of 1,000 new scanners — split evenly between base-sized and full-sized scanners. You should start seeing them at airports across the country in time for the busy summer travel season. These orders are in addition to the 300 mid-sized CT x-ray systems ordered in August 2021. Those machines are already being used at airports across the United States.
Aside from enhanced security, the full-sized x-ray machines also come equipped with parallel divestment stations with automated bin returns. These allow several passengers to place their carry-on bags into bins and onto the security belt at one time. This allows seasoned passengers or those needing less time to bypass passengers who need help or more time with their belongings. While not widely used in the United States, the parallel divestment stations are popping up in some airports and work to speed up the security process by allowing passengers to go through security at their own pace without holding up travelers behind them. The parallel divestment system also automatically returns bins to their starting point, cutting down on the time it takes for you to go searching for an empty bin.
The next time you head through airport security, think about this list of most unusual items confiscated at security, or, for something lighter-hearted, keep an eye out for these adorable TSA dogs.