DALLAS—The Transportation Security Administration is now using robotic carts at Dallas Love Field to make screening suspicious bags more efficient.
According to the TSA’s website, 1.3 million checked bags are screened across the country each day.
Officers inspect those bags because something inside triggered an alarm during initial scans.
At Dallas Love Field, if a bag triggers an alarm—it gets to meet some new artificial intelligence.
Since November, TSA officers have been utilizing robotic tables (mobile inspection tables) to help them screen and inspect luggage.
The tables move on a magnetic track and take suspicious bags to stations where officers are standing, so they can be searched for any illegal items.
Once a bag clears inspection or prohibited items are removed, it’s put back on the robotic table which then dumps the bag back onto a conveyor belt that leads to its plane.
Before, officers would just yank suspicious bags off of those belts. With the new robots, the TSA says work injuries may be a thing of the past.
“You can imagine working a shift down here would be very exhausting,” Assistant Federal Security Director of Screening Jeffrey Tyler said.
“We’re not lifting, pushing, or even pulling the bag.”
Tyler said that the robotic tables also cut down on luggage backups during heavy travel days, putting the bags in a queue instead of forcing officers to just deal with them as they come.
He said that the system was initially implemented before Thanksgiving and Christmas of last year and was a major help.
“It gives us plenty of time and opportunity to clear that bag efficiently and effectively—and send it on for travel,” Tyler said.
Chris Perry, Dallas Love Field’s Communications Manager, told WFAA that the airport deals with 15,000 to 16,000 bookings a day.
It’s the first airport to use this kind of automation to screen all checked bags.
Detroit Metropolitan Airport and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport use the robotic tables too, but not for all terminals.
“If we can get those bags through safely and efficiently, we’re always happy to do that,” Perry said.
“To be able to say that we have robots moving bags around, that’s the fun part for us.”
Perry couldn’t go into exact costs for the tables because he said the system was purchased as part of the Love Field Modernization Program.
He stressed that any money the airport uses comes from its enterprise fund—and not the city’s general fund.