The SOS project aims at establishing a strategic longer term industry-academia partnership to face the research challenges related to the development of non-intrusive and pervasive surveillance systems for indoor public areas, based on an innovative combinations of passive radar technology, novel detection and tracking systems in various electromagnetic frequency range, and sensitive data processing.
The scientific objective of the underlying research project is to realize a completely new sensor concept for indoor airport areas, by detecting and identifying the presence of hazardous tools, which can be concealed (under clothes or inside bags) by ill-intentioned people, without interfering neither with the normal passenger flows, nor with the normal airport operations. The project intends to study, design and develop the functional prototypes of an innovative multisensor based system, integrating active and passive radar sensors and highly complex data-fusion. The SOS project involves academic and industrial researchers, who will have the opportunity to share complementary and multidisciplinary knowledge on different radar technologies and data-fusion, in order to foster integration of these technology as well as future joint RTD. Through a dedicated Transfer of Knowledge (ToK) programme they will share their own expertise, will acquire new knowledge in complementary and intersectoral fields and will integrate their new know-how back to their home institutions. The research teams will be complemented by new recruited experienced researchers with advanced competence in the field of detection, sensitive data processing and passive tracking radar systems.
The SOS system will foster globally the security level in public spaces such as airports, establish long term industry academic collaboration through a joint 10 year RTD roadmap and reach out to the general public through airport bill-boards on the benefits of RTD in this area for passengers.
Radar for airport security
A new EU-developed airport security system utilises X-band radar for general scanning and tracking of individuals. Testing has successfully localised targets and tracked suspect vehicles around the exterior of airport buildings.
Airport security is a necessary and enduring fact of life, though the technologies involved will inevitably improve. One new proposal is to use a harmless kind of microwave radar for high-resolution security imaging applications inside and around airports.
Making the idea a reality is the EU-funded SOS project. The five-member consortium began in early 2012 and concludes at the end of 2015. The main goal is to design and develop new imaging sensors that detect dangerous items using X-band radar. The system is intended not to impede passenger flow.
The project's first two years saw definition of user and operational requirements, with various options being compared. The group experimented with the use of X-band radar to observe vehicles outside airport buildings, particularly using a near-field Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) approach. The method, in conjunction with tomographic techniques and inverse-SAR processing of a simple moving target echo, was evaluated in terms of delivering high-resolution data. The team also developed algorithms for processing frequency-modulated continuous wave radar.
Testing results confirmed the system's ability to track suspect vehicles around airport precincts. Simulations of various scenarios involving the tracking of multiple moving targets, including pedestrians and vehicles, also showed promise. Testing to date has established a satisfactory target-localisation ability, and constitutes an effective demonstration of the proposed technique.
The outcome of the SOS project will be new airport security systems able to detect threats that current systems cannot, ultimately meaning safer air transportation. The new technologies will also mean increased competitiveness and commercial opportunity for European enterprises.