The TSA has purchased 12 SPO units from Hampshire-based Qinetiq under an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract that allows for additional purchases over the next two years. The agreement follows recent operational trials of SPO technology at the Staten Island ferry terminal and Pier 90 in New York City.
Qinetiq’s SPO units are cameras that use millimetre wave technology combined with software algorithms to screen people one at a time. The technology detects and measures the waves naturally emitted by the human body and determines if there are any cold objects – such as metals, plastics and ceramics – concealed under a person’s clothing. Suspicious objects trigger an alert on the display monitor, prompting the operator to search the individual.
According to Qinetiq, the SPO system is particularly suitable for use in busy environments because it can detect concealed threats from many metres away without requiring passengers to slow their pace.