Leidos Security Detection & Automation at Los Angeles International Airport

Company Facts

Name: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Location: Los Angeles
Industry: Airport


  • Improve the passenger experience through outbound security at Los Angeles International  Airport
  • Significantly improve the flow of passengers after entering the security area to reduce queues and bottlenecks
  • Enhance the screening process with directive search and positive identification of suspect items and threats
  • Produce a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved solution that is scalable to fit existing checkpoint layouts and infrastructure



Success highlights

  • 27 Mach-SmartLane automated screening lanes deployed across multiple terminals in LAX
  • Passenger experience dramatically improved with reduced queue times and only security cleared items presented to passengers
  • Unsecure items automatically transferred to secure side for further investigation allowing cleared items to continue to passengers
  • Up to 50% increase in throughput capacity at each automated screening lane compared to legacy lanes

Our Approach

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the largest and busiest airport in California and the second-busiest airport in the United States. With continually growing demand, authorities at LAX wanted to improve the passenger experience at the airport and get passengers moving more quickly through security lanes.

Working closely with the TSA, airlines and the airport, MacDonald Humfrey Automation installed its Mach-SmartLane solution as part of an overall improvement of the passenger experience. The innovative system allows several passengers to concurrently divest items into dedicated trays, and allows ‘faster’ passengers to past passengers who require more time, and proceed to the next stage of the screening process. The passenger experience is improved as unsecured items are automatically transferred to a secure screening line, away from passengers, allowing cleared items to reach passengers more quickly.

“Once you put your items in the trays, you can push your trays up onto the conveyor and then you can walk  straight up to the body scanner, and maybe bypass someone who needs to take a little more time,” explains Aura Moore, Deputy Executive Director for Los Angeles World Airports.

Based upon current operational parameters supplied by the TSA, the Mach-SmartLane solution was initially modelled by MacDonald Humfrey Automation using simulation software. This provided the client with a working view of how operational efficiency could be improved, queue times and congestion reduced, and safety and security enhanced by using automation.

The passenger experience is further enhanced with the integration of the Mach-SmartView® system. Mach-SmartView  integrates seamlessly with X-ray screening allowing  screeners to identify potential threats directly on the screen they are viewing. Trays are rejected when items are identified as requiring further investigation and tracked using a positive tray ID system to a decision table where unsecure trays are diverted to a separate conveyor away from passengers. When a tray is picked for further investigation, searchers scan the radio-frequency identification (RFID) of the tray and can immediately view images of the type of  perceived threat reported and identify its location.  Searchers can go directly to the bag's location and secure it.

MacDonald Humfrey Automation was the first company to be approved by the TSA to integrate with leading manufacturers of checkpoint X-ray machines, so the company was in a prime position to help international airports such as LAX process passengers quickly and efficiently while improving security. Mach-SmartLane is also product safety certified, and has both CE and UL certifications.

“Working closely with our clients, we can help them to visualize the design of the whole passenger experience through security, including identifying any checkpoint gaps and bottlenecks before we even begin to deploy the equipment,” explains Andy Roe, Senior Project Manager at MacDonald Humfrey Automation.  “We carefully examine peak flow times and the space available to maximize and model a solution that provides cost efficiencies and a world class passenger experience at one of the world’s premier airports.”

The new lanes are expected to cut wait times by 30 to 50%. In 2018, a $12.3 million project will see 14 of the 16 screening lanes at the Thomas Bradley International terminal at LAX replaced with the new technology.