A range of new security technologies waiting for recognition have the potential simultaneously to improve the airport experience for passengers and outwit potential terrorists.

In July Thales was entrusted by the UK Home Office with the task of encouraging companies, entrepreneurs and academia to submit future security ideas for scrutiny as potential components in an integrated security system. About 300 organisations responded, and 19 systems have been shortlisted for investment under the Home Office's Instinct Technology Development 2 programme.

The array of technology solutions is impressive particularly because of their potential for networking the information they provide into security and passenger management command centres at each airport. New facial recognition technology that can capture the image of a moving individual at any point from the car park to the aeroplane, alone or in a crowd, can recognise anyone who is on a security database, and the latest infrared camera technology eliminates the former high false alarm rate.

If anybody's behaviour causes concern, they can be remotely "tagged" for special attention. Combined with improved baggage and personal scanning, the new total system will make life easier for passengers and more difficult for those who would do them harm.

Source: Flight International