AIT units were installed in the airport last week, making Augusta one of 170 airports using the technology. These units use millimeter wave electromagnetic technology to scan travelers for both metal and nonmetal objects, cutting security time to as little as 12 seconds. The millimeter wave technology is safe, and the energy emitted is 1,000 times less than the international limits and guidelines, according to the TSA.
According to TSA spokesman Jon Allen, the AIT units scan travelers and show a generic human outline on a screen, highlighting any areas that may need additional screening. The highlighted areas will then go through a localized pat-down by a TSA agent.
To ensure travelers’ privacy, the scan shows up as a generic human outline. If a problem area is not detected, an “OK” appears on the screen with no outline.
One specific demographic Allen said the AIT units help is travelers who have metal surgical implants, such as a replaced hip. They can alert TSA agents to their implant, and the technology will show the metal in the scan without causing a delay or holdup in the security process.
“As long as they divest it properly, they will be on their way in 12 to 15 seconds without a pat-down,” Allen said.
Augusta Regional TSA agents have undergone training this week for the new technology and will slowly transition to the units as the entire staff is trained.