GE High-Speed Baggage Screening Set for US Airports

29 March 2009 (Last Updated March 29th, 2009 18:30)

General Electric has unveiled a high-speed baggage-screening system for airports that combines health care-caliber imaging technology with state-of-the-art explosive-detection capabilities. The new system, which can screen bags checked by passengers at double the rate of most existing s

General Electric has unveiled a high-speed baggage-screening system for airports that combines health care-caliber imaging technology with state-of-the-art explosive-detection capabilities.

The new system, which can screen bags checked by passengers at double the rate of most existing systems, has been certified it for use in the US, although it still must undergo field tests.

The system uses three-dimensional imaging technology initially developed for the health-care industry. Computer software then analyses the high-definition images for density, mass and other factors that could denote concealed explosives.

Chief marketing officer for GE's homeland-security division, Michael Cavanaugh said that the computer makes the decision for the vast majority of bags.

"The system only sends a message to an operator for a manual check where it believes it detects a threat," Cavanaugh said.

The Transport Safety Authority, which procures baggage-screening technology for US airports, is expected to buy some of the new GE systems under an estimated $329.1m, sole-source contract that it is in the process of negotiating

Under the planned five-year contract, the TSA would be able to buy both GE's new systems and its existing systems, depending on the needs of particular airports.

By Daniel Garrun.