Security arrangements for air travel are clunky and unintelligent, but Thales does not think they should stay that way.

The European electronics giant has used the air show to launch a programme to attract companies, academic institutions and individuals to come forward with new ways of making aviation security simultaneously more effective, less intrusive and more intelligent.

Working with the UK government and the Intellect Technology Association, Thales has dubbed the programme Instinct Technology Demonstrator 2 (TD2), and it hopes to encourage companies with technologies that were not originally developed for security purposes but might have a security application to come forward.

In return the organisation is positioned to compete for a £50,000 ($76,250) prize, and to take advantage of Thales's massive resources and influence to gain higher visibility for their project, and access to investors and investment advice.

Thales provided examples of the kind of technologies that may have an as-yet undeveloped application in security: a company that developed a highly sensitive "sniffer" technology intended to detect traces of volatile organic compounds could use that sensor technology as part of an identification process.

A company that is working to improve visual recognition technology may be able to develop a scanner that can operate effectively at distances rather than only close-up.

The company says: "We are looking for any person, company or academic institution, regardless of size or location, UK or overseas, that has a technology, solution or idea that could improve aviation security at any stage in the air travel process, from the point of planning and booking a trip through to boarding an aircraft.

"Ideally it would also provide complementary benefits in either the passenger experience or enhancement of airport revenues. The technology could be at any readiness level, from early concept through to commercial use in other environments."

Source: Flight Daily News