TSA Approves Testing for Scanners That Allow Liquids, Laptops to Stay in Bags – Condé Nast Traveler
While Apple was busy announcing you’ll pay $1,000 for the iPhone X’s ability to unlock using a facial scan, other reports emerged about futuristic scanners that will affect airline travel for years to come. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has approved a test run of computed tomography (CT) scanners, which sound like something from Tron, but quite simply, will let you keep liquids and your laptop in your carry-on bag.
Analogic, the company behind the ConneCT scanners, said in a release that the technology had “achieved U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Certification per the Advanced Technology (AT) detection standards.” In digestible terms, that means it’s ready to be tested at security checkpoints around the country. But as a TSA spokesperson told Condé Nast Traveler, “Analogic has to go through additional testing before any machines are deployed and no deployment timelines have yet been established.”
American Airlines and TSA initially tested the ConneCT system at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Boston Logan Airport in June, and they liked what they saw enough to move forward. As TSA explains on its website, the computed tomography system “shoots hundreds of images with an X-ray camera that spins around the conveyor belt to provide officers with a 3D picture of a carry-on bag to ensure it does not contain a threat,” then “applies sophisticated algorithms for the detection of explosives.” Screeners can then manually pull a bag aside for additional screening, if that’s required. The whole point of the system is to reduce time spent removing items from bags at security checkpoints to streamline the screening process.
Originally, the TSA and American Airlines’ plan anticipated installation of the ConneCT laners in Chicago (O’Hare), Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles and Miami, but at this time, there are no announcements on where or when the program will expand.
Similar tomography scanners are already being used in airports around the world, including at Singapore’s Changi Airport. The world’s best airport just opened its gleaming new Terminal 4, which includes a “fast and seamless travel” (FAST) system that implements tomography scanners that allow laptops to remain in bags, just as the ConneCT system aspires to in the U.S.
The testing of ConneCT security lanes fits in line with the renewed focus on speeding up airport security by the TSA and airlines through the use of advanced security technology, including biometric fingerprint scanners at gates, facial recognition technology to replace passports and boarding passes, and facial recognition scanners at bag drops that all hope to streamline an often onerous but necessary process. With so many complaints about airport security lines post-9/11, new technology seems the quickest path toward keeping passengers safe and less annoyed—though how quickly the tomography scanners propagate remains to be seen.