The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has issued a $3.5 million purchase order for new compact, portable X-ray technology developed by Smart Imaging Systems, to safely scan for contraband and explosives in vehicles.
Designed by engineers with years of experience designing for NASA’s miniaturized systems for the MARS Rover and various other space missions, the CXR is the first scanner system that fits in a car trunk and can be deployed in just minutes at border crossings, government checkpoints, as well as building garages, large event parking facilities and high security events. It uses safe levels of X-rays to detect drugs, weapons, other contraband as well as improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
“This initial order is validation that our system is faster, more efficient and less expensive than what is being used today to restrict contraband flow at our borders,” says Satpal Singh, president and chief executive officer of Smart Imaging Systems. “It is exciting to see that technology developed for space applications can be used in the U.S. to protect our citizens.”
The high-throughput (5-10 seconds per car scan) unit can be easily concealed behind overhead signs or roadside planters and can perform fast scans from above or from the side of vehicles. The high resolution, low energy x-ray scanner requires only two 12-volt motorcycle batteries instead of a large generator or a heavy duty, high wattage power source.
Land border crossings serve a critical role in enabling CBP’s enforcement of immigration and customs laws and according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the nation’s land border crossings remain a target for exploitation by transnational criminal organizations. Because this system is portable, fast and easy to assemble at remote and random checkpoints, it gives CPB a powerful tool to catch these criminal drug smugglers, traffickers and other transporters of contraband. These hand portable car scanners will allow CBP officers to conduct pulse and surge operations at the nations land and sea ports of entry.
“Diligent transportation security typically slows the movement of vehicles, people or cargo,” says Peter Harris, an industry security advisor. “The CXR Smart Imaging Systems technology enables security personnel to scan where the threats are without creating security bottlenecks in vehicle inspection and we look forward to broad adoption in a number of vertical markets.”
The undisclosed number of units will be delivered and deployed beginning in 2021.