Improving the “image” of aviation security

Advanced image processing techniques enable smart weapons to find their target with very high precision. Now these techniques are improving airport security around the world.

Advanced image processing developed in Israel by HTS helps to increase security in airports.  The company’s image processing system is incorporated in the security system that protects Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv from suspect cars that may carry explosives and armed terrorists.

The systems’ cameras are positioned in the two main vehicle entrances to the airport. When intelligence data points to the possible use of a car in performing an attack, the numberplate and other details are fed into the systems, and it alerts armed security guards before the cars can cross the first barrier.

But this HTS technology has found its way to another place that creates a potential for terror – air cargo

Materials and goods transported by air are generally time-sensitive and relatively high value shipments. They account for about a third of international trade.

The explosives identified on cargo airplanes from Yemen to Chicago have created an urgent necessity of implementing unit load device (ULD) identification, screening and tracking.

Currently available technologies are mainly geared towards baggage and loose cargo screening. Methods and technologies for cargo inspection are improving, but at a slower rate than passenger baggage inspection

Air cargo is transported in bulk in ULDs, but management, tracking and scanning of ULD fleets is problematic, due to inefficiency and a lack of real-time intelligence. A system that incorporates radiation scanning, x-ray and automatic identification and recording of ULDs would meet this challenge.

A system combining the required technologies was developed and implemented at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam by L-3 Communications, incorporating HTS technology, and has been operated successfully.

Each ULD is identified with a unique code, using a systematic scheme from IATA, however, there are challenges in reading many of these numbers as they are scratched, dirty and faded.

According to Philip Elovic, president of HTS, the company has developed a new patent pending system which has met the challenge.

The complete and integrated system scans for radiation, x-rays the cargo, reads the ULD container numbers, records them and matches them to a manifest as they pass through the system portal. ULD portals can be placed at strategic points in the airport in order to monitor all cargo and passenger luggage being loaded onto planes.

So, the image processing that was developed by HTS has found its way to many places that are potential threats to civil aviation – and this list will undoubtedly grow.

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