Operations

New Technology Peeks Into Vehicles

Posted on November 3, 2004 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

CAPE MAY, N.J. – The Department of Homeland Security has deployed a mobile X-ray truck in a program that peeks into the unoccupied cars of drivers waiting to board the ferry to Delaware.

The program uses a van that previously had been deployed in border cargo searches to take X-ray pictures of parked cars. The low dosage X-ray shows any organic material, including explosives and drugs, as a dense white mass on a computer screen, while steel and other materials appear in outline.

The van snaps pictures as it moves along a line of cars at the pace of a stroll, but the manufacturer says the unit can scan when moving at up to 6 mph.

Federal officials said because scans would be voluntary, no privacy issues were involved. Edward L. Barocas, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, said he could not discuss the new surveillance program in detail until he became familiar with it, but said drivers generally have an expectation of privacy for those parts of their cars that are not visible to those outside.

He said the United States Supreme Court ruled in 2001 that it was illegal for authorities to search homes from outside using infrared scanning without a search warrant, but also noted, "Obviously in border searches the government is given a much broader leeway than elsewhere."

The cars scanned were rental cars used by government workers participating in a demonstration. It took less than a minute for the van to pass each car.

For now, the scan at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry will be voluntary, said Carol DiBattiste, deputy director of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Drivers who agree to have their car scanned during the 30- day testing phase will be asked to leave their cars and to remove pets. The X-ray dosage is not harmful to photographic film, food or any other contents of the car, officials said.

DiBattiste said a decision to make the inspections compulsory had not been made.

"Right now our focus is on ferries," DiBattiste said, "but eventually this technology could be used for any vehicle security information." She said the ferry vehicle scanning program was part of an effort to use advanced technology in government crime prevention and anti-terror efforts.

The $600 X-ray unit is called the Z Backscatter Van, and was developed and built by American Science & Engineering Inc. of Billerica, Mass. The company says about 60 vans have been sold to various governments.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Go Riteway Celebrates 60 Years In Bus Business

The Wisconsin company started with just four school buses and now has 1,000 vehicles serving several ground transportation sectors.

Colorado Operator Buys Affiliate To Widen Service Region

eNews Exclusive: B-Line Express in Vail will now cover even more ground in the retail-heavy state.

Why Uber Can't Be Fixed And Must Be Shut Down

Analysis: The TNC's lower costs brought lower prices, with resulting popularity and growth. But its use of noncommercial cars was unlawful from the start.

Empire CLS Featured In Meetings + Events Magazine

The article describes the chauffeured transportation provider's newest additions to its fleet: 56-passenger motorcoaches.

Unique II Brings Its Luxury Service To Florida FBO

The New Jersey company expands its chauffeured experience to  private charter jet clientele at Opa-locka.

See More News

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (0)

Post a Comment

Submit

Blog

See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - July 2017 $12.95 COVER STORY: * Why These Titans Work So Hard to Give it Away * *



Connect

Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close