TSA Deploys Upgraded Security Checkpoint Technologies at US Airports

As the demand for air travel continues to grow, the TSA is modernising airport checkpoints to enhance security effectiveness and efficiency and improve the passenger experience.

It is thus deploying new technology solutions at airports nationwide, including credential authentication technology (CAT) and computed tomography (CT) units.

An Analogic CT scanner used for airport security screening
An Analogic CT scanner used for airport security screening

Credential Authentication Technology (CAT)

CAT units are used to confirm the authenticity of a passenger’s identification credentials, along with their flight details and pre-screening status, without requiring their boarding pass.

At checkpoints equipped with this technology, passengers simply have to present their photo identification to the officer for a convenient and efficient process.

The second generation of CAT, CAT-2, is also already in use at several airports nationwide.

CAT-2 has the same capabilities as CAT but is additionally equipped with a camera that captures a real-time photo of the traveller at the travel document checker podium. It then compares the traveller’s photo on the identification credential against the in-person, real-time photo.

CAT improves a TSA officer’s ability to authenticate photo identification while also identifying inconsistencies associated with fraudulent travel documents

To date, TSA has deployed 2,054 CAT units at 223 airports. 238 of these are the second generation (CAT-2) technology.

In addition, a growing number of states are also launching mobile driver’s licenses (mDL), enabling TSA to read digital IDs from Arizona, Colorado, Georgia and Maryland within Apple Wallet.

Furthermore, it can read Utah mDLs stored in the GET Mobile ID app and American Airlines digital ID stored in the Airside Digital Identity app.

Computed Tomography (CT)

TSA is also deploying new computed tomography (CT) scanners at airport checkpoints nationwide to improve scanning and threat detection capabilities for carry-on bags.

CT units allow TSA officers to review a 3D image of passengers’ bags, thus reducing the need to physically search the contents of the bag.

Passengers screened in security lanes with CT units do not need to remove their liquids or laptops from their bags, which significantly improves checkpoint efficiency.

TSA has now deployed 678 CT units to 218 airports nationwide and recently announced an investment of up to 1.3 billion USD in three additional orders for up to 426 base, 359 mid-size and 429 full-size CT units.

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