3 Technologies Changing the Future of Airport Security

Wouldn’t it be nice to go through airport security without all the hassle? Imagine a world where going through airport security was no longer an experience we dreaded. In the past couple decades, airport security has drastically increased due to terrorist attacks and ongoing threats. Simplicity and travel are no longer two words that can be used in the same sentence.

Today, new technologies are emerging to help not only increase airport security but limit the amount of chaos associated with it. Let’s take a look at three technologies that can revolutionize your future airport experience.

Artificial Intelligence(AI): Recently, the United States Transportation Security Administration began testing the possibility to use AI to make security screenings easier. Instead of a full-body scan being required in a chamber, passengers would no longer need to be scanned one traveler at a time.

To increase the speed of the security, special software would process things like facial expressions and posture which could identify a security risk on an individual basis. This would greatly speed up the security process, protect the privacy of travelers and only notify agents when a traveler poses a threat. Currently there are scheduled test projects at Denver International Airport and metro/train stations within Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

AI is being used around the globe to improve airport security. The UAE recently announced that they will bring virtual security tunnels to Dubai airports. According to the Emirati news outlet the National “Emirati tunnels rely on artificial intelligence instead of X-rays to check whether a traveler poses a threat. Designed so that it looks like travelers are walking through a virtual aquarium, the tunnel is equipped with face-scanning fish. AI is used to speed up the verification process.” It will be interesting to see where the world of AI will lead us.

Biometric Technology: While AI and Biometrics may seem like something out of a SciFi movie, this is all quickly becoming reality as we know it. Biometrics are used within security to identify individuals in a group who are under surveillance. Your average person is most likely familiar with biometrics such as voice recognition when speaking with Siri, using our fingerprints when logging into phones and facial recognition which is now used by Windows 10.

Airports are already using biometrics with some electronic turnstiles that use fingerprint, iris and facial scanning. Now the question is in which ways will biometrics make a greater impact within airport security? There are discussions of airports going completely biometric. The idea is that once your facial characteristics and passport photos match, there won’t be any more security checkpoints. This process is called “Single Token Travel”.

Airports around the globe are experimenting with this system with select passengers. Finnair invited 1,000 of their frequent flyers to test this system. The travelers underwent a face recognition test at Helsinki Airport in order for the airport to have a better understanding of the technology and evaluate the customer experience.

A communications and IT infrastructure company, Sita has been working with a variety of biometric systems throughout the world. Their head of product development Stephen Challis said, “We have a trial that’s been running for six months in Brisbane, where the passenger enrols their passport, boarding card and their face image at check-in, then uses that through the various control points.” At the boarding gate, passengers simply look into the camera and through they go. “That’s a significant gain for passengers in terms of speed and convenience.” Keep an eye out for this groundbreaking biometric technology in airports. It could be here before we know it.

Microfocus X-Ray: You have probably heard of the recent discussions on laptop bans in the United States. Not only is it a scary thought that a laptop could potentially be used as a bomb, but not allowing laptops as carry on’s would add extra stress and inconvenience to a traveler’s journey.

Ultrabright microfocus X-ray is the next breed of powerful and more efficient alternatives to conventional X-ray tubes. When used in CT scanners – a technology adopted from the medical industry for airport security – microfocus X-ray technology provides a solution that can create higher resolution 3D images capable of detecting materials the size of a single white blood cell.

This means an enhanced ability to detect a threat from both a passenger and an object. The key to this, though, is for the microfocus X-ray tube to have high enough “brilliance” (aka brightness or intensity) for proper dangerous item screening – something few X-ray tube manufacturers have been able to accomplish.

Our company Luxbright, a Swedish developer and manufacturer of high brilliance X-ray tube technology, was awarded over €3mm from the European Union for our ColdNanoX project to bring our precision microfocus technology into airport security. Luxbright’s innovations are seen as critical advancements in the world of X-ray imaging, because the tubes can produce the brilliant microfocus required for advanced imaging.

Luxbright’s technology is currently being used by companies and research institutions, with pilot projects for airport security beginning in 2018. Over 3.8 billion travelers were predicted to fly this year. Imagine knowing those 3.8 billion could travel in a safe and more efficient manner due to new technologies that are just around the corner from becoming our reality.

Check back on our blog for regular updates on the security industry and how our technology is set to change the world.