There is a need to improve the quality of security systems which scan people as they enter a secure or protected area. As terrorism continues to be a threat we need to ensure future systems provide a high level of protection detecting threats with a high probability of detection and rejecting false alarms. At the same time these systems need to operate in real time to avoid unnecessary queues and to adopt ethical best practices to ensure people are treated fairly, their privacy respected and that there is no discrimination.
CONSORTIS (Concealed Object Stand-Off Real-Time Imaging for Security) is a project in EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7). CONSORTIS is a 38-month project with eleven partners from five EU member States. It is a confidential project with classified deliverables and is conscious of a need to protect the intellectual property developed to ensure exploitation.
The project will develop a demonstrator for stand-off real-time concealed object detection for future implementations of high throughput security screening for European mass-transit markets and infrastructure security. The technological approach will incorporate a multi-frequency passive submillimetre-wave video camera, coupled with an active 340 GHz 3D imaging radar system. Both systems will be integrated with a suitable set of image forming optics and scanning optomechanics. Sensor data fusion will merge the passive system ""colour"" map with the radar topographic map of any concealed items. Automatic Anomaly Detection algorithms will be developed in order to improve automation and to mitigate privacy issues.
The system will undergo an end-user demonstration at a European airport. The ethical issues surrounding the use of stand-off body scanners will be evaluated by a group of experts who will provide advice to ensure that the technology will be deployable from an ethical standpoint, facilitating a “privacy-by-design” approach. The involvement of end-users is of utmost importance.
The consortium includes end-users as project partners who will ensure that maximum relevance and impact to the end-users is secured. The consortium will also address the exploitation of the technology developed within the project, especially considering the commercialisation and manufacture of the technology through the several SMEs involved in the project.
The overall objective:
To develop and pilot a dual-mode (active/passive multiband) submillimetre wave (SMMW) video-rate people-screening imaging system with automated anomaly detection capability for reliable, discreet and rapid threat object detection.
This system will have the following properties:
- Non-intrusive, safe and accurate – SMMW systems are non-ionizing, and the exposure level for the active front end illumination will be well below the established limit.
- Speed –the system will be capable of near-real time imaging to facilitate “walk-by” security screening solutions.
- SMMW (“THz”) operation – the system will incorporate passive sensors covering frequencies from ~200 to ~600 GHz, and the active radar also operates in this band.
- Multi-frequency operation – the passive system will cover more than one frequency band for differentiation of materials.
- Automated threat recognition capability - Algorithms will be developed to make use of the complementary image outputs of the passive and active sensors.
- Privacy issues – strong involvement of ethics experts minimises the potential issue with privacy.
- Pilot/demonstration – The system will be demonstrated at an international airport.