New screening system at Miami International Airport should mean less wait time

Robotic mobile inspection tables to expedite screening process, increase safety

By Trent Kelly - Reporter

MIAMI - Miami International Airport has unveiled its new, one-of-a-kind system intended to expedite the screening process for travelers while increasing the safety of Transportation Security Administration agents.

"In this room we have 102 of these mobile inspection tables -- basically robots -- that will pick up the bag and deliver them to the next officer," Dan Ronan, federal security director for the TSA, said Tuesday.

The new automated baggage screening system is part of a series of security upgrades at Miami International Airport, which, in addition to the robotic tables, will include a dozen new explosive screening devices.

"This system, with 12 state-of-the-art explosive detection systems from Smiths Detection, replaces 10 medium-speed systems and 13 low-speed systems," Ronan said.

After passing through those systems, any checked bag that's flagged for additional screening will then be placed on a conveyor belt and taken right to one of the automated inspection tables.

At that point, the tables will start moving on their own, bringing the bag straight to a waiting TSA agent -- speeding up the screening process and eliminating the risk of injury. 

Officials said it is the largest system of its kind to be installed at a U.S. airport. When fully operational, it will allow screeners to process more than 7,000 bags in the span of one hour.

The money for the new system came from a $101 million baggage handling grant from the federal government.

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