Air cargo security technology tested at Sea-Tac
The Transportation Security Administration will begin testing technology at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport this fall that can screen air cargo for hidden persons and explosives, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
The tests are part of a $30 million pilot program launched in June at San Francisco International Airport to develop effective explosive detection systems in air cargo environments.
Results from the tests will be used to help researchers and policymakers develop new air cargo security systems. Air carriers insist that current technology disrupts the efficient loading of aircraft because packages often do not fit through the openings of scanning machines. DHS said it is interested in data that demonstrates the economic and operational impact to air carriers from elevated screening levels.
Tests will focus on areas that include assessing the flow of air cargo and how quickly it must be screened. In addition, testing will take place to detect carbon dioxide, which may indicate the presence of a human in cargo. DHS will also seek to determine which types of technologies are most effective at detecting threats placed within commodities.
Among the technologies under review are systems that can X-ray entire pallets for explosives.
Several national laboratories are assisting the TSA develop air cargo screening systems.