DULLES, Va. - The Transportation Security Administration is testing new technology at Washington Dulles International Airport that would make it easier for agents to detect explosives and other dangerous items.
The system, called L3 Clear Scan, uses computed tomography which creates a 3D image of a bag, which a TSA officer can interact with to get a better view of what’s inside.
“It’s almost like an MRI,” explained Scott Johnson, TSA federal security director at Dulles. “He can take that 3D image, maneuver it around, highlight certain parts of that image, almost virtually take out an image, review that image, and determine if there’s a bag check needed or not. It’s a huge step forward for us and for officers. It gives them a better look inside of bags.”
The TSA already uses this technology to scan checked baggage for explosives but now it’s been sized down for checkpoints. It creates such a clear image that the system can automatically detect explosives, including liquids, by shooting hundreds of images with an x-ray camera spinning around the conveyor belt.
An added bonus of this is that passengers won’t have to take out laptops or liquids from their bags. Combine that with larger bins for processing, and the TSA says it should get passengers through security quicker.
But travelers will still have to take off shoes, belts, outer jackets and all metal from their person because while bags are getting an enhanced check, travelers themselves are not.
Dulles is one of 15 airports across the country testing the new technology and the TSA plans to roll out more than 145 of the machines across the country by end of the 2019 fiscal year.