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XP-DITE Proof-of-Concept Checkpoint Trials – September 2016

Over the last 4 years the XP-DITE project has been developing a new system-level approach to the design and evaluation of aviation security checkpoints. This is now being trialled at two proof-of-concept checkpoints.

In the current regulatory regime, designers can only choose equipment from an approved list which has been tested in isolation, and must follow detailed rules on how screening is carried out.  The XP-DITE vision, in contrast, is outcome-focused. As long as the checkpoint delivers the required level of security as an overall system, airports would be free to choose the equipment and processes to meet the business and customer service objectives of the airport and the airlines which use it.

The project has entered the phase where the tools developed to support this new design approach can be used to build proof-of-concept checkpoints for practical trials.

The first proof-of-concept, a technology demonstrator, has just completed tests at the Scarabee integration facility near Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and is undergoing security-performance testing at aviation security test laboratories in the Netherlands and Germany.

The second proof-of-concept is a live passenger trial at Shannon Airport of a combined European and US Pre-clearance checkpoint, replacing the two separate checkpoints which are used at present.  This trial will show how a checkpoint can be designed to comply with two different sets of regulations (EU and US TSA).  The combined checkpoint, the first of its kind, should result in improved customer service and reduced operating costs.

Technology Demonstrator

The XP-DITE technology demonstrator checkpoint features a number of state-of-the-art prototype detection technologies alongside the use of more mature established component technologies. The combination of new and established technology aims to assess new approaches to airport security which could maintain a high level of defence against terrorist threats while improving the experience for passengers and reducing costs for operators.

Firstly a new X-ray scanner, which provides new detection properties compared to existing X-ray cabin baggage scanners available on the market, has been developed by XP-DITE partner Smiths Detection. This focuses on new detection algorithms which provide the capability to reconstruct 3D images of the bag using multi-view techniques which are significantly cheaper, more compact, faster and power efficient than CT type scanners. Algorithms to screen liquids in bags (ECAC type D) have also been developed.

This has been integrated with a pair of state of the art laser-based explosive detection systems developed as part of XP-DITE, one looking for microscopic trace explosive residues on belongings (developed by FOI the Swedish Defence Research Agency), and one high sensitivity trace vapour detection system for the purpose of detecting homemade explosives (developed by Cascade Technologies).

The idea is that these detection systems operate together, automatically combining complementary bulk and trace detection technologies on every bag, without requiring additional staff or causing passenger delays.

The identification and linking passengers to their baggage is carried out by a new “on-the-fly” fingerprint biometric identification developed by Safran.

Combined EU/US Pre-Clearance Checkpoint

The second checkpoint, which is being used for passenger trials at Shannon Airport, combines the European and US Pre-clearance checkpoints, replacing the two separate checkpoints which are used at present with just one. The Shannon trial will show how a checkpoint can be designed to comply with two different sets of regulations (EU and the US TSA systems). This combined checkpoint is the first of its kind in the world and has been designed to improve customer experience. Passengers flying to the US will no longer have to queue up twice for separate security checks.

Pre-clearance allows US-bound passengers to complete immigration and customs formalities, as well as security screening for US domestic flights, before they travel. This means that they can land at any airport in the USA, not just the busy international ones, they can take domestic flights without rescreening and their luggage can be checked through to their final destination. Ten major airports across Europe and around the world are looking to adopt the pre-clearance approach, which could benefit some 20 million US-bound passengers per year.

The checkpoint includes new multi-view x-ray scanners from Smiths Detection; newly installed security scanners replacing the walk-through metal detectors previously in use; and, specially designed screening processes in order to comply with the detailed regulations operating in the EU and the USA.

The checkpoint was designed and implemented as part of the XP-DITE project, in cooperation with the management and staff of Shannon Airport. The project is grateful to the Irish Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport and the US Transportation Security Administration for their support in putting in place the enhanced arrangements. The trial will run at Shannon Airport from September 6th for a ten week period.

Analysis and evaluation

After the airport trials, tests will continue at security testing laboratories at TNO in the Netherlands and Fraunhofer ICT in Germany. The proof-of-concept checkpoints have been designed and will be evaluated against a range of security and compliance, cost and operations, passenger satisfaction and ethical performance indicators. The trial results will be analysed to evaluate the suite of modelling tools and empirical evaluation methods developed by the XP-DITE team.

Stakeholder meetings are being arranged in October for the Shannon trial. Results of both trials and the project as a whole will be presented at an XP-DITE stakeholder conference, being planned at the end of the project in May 2017.

XP-DITE Proof-of-concept combined EU and TSA pre-clearance demonstrator at Shannon Airport, showing Smiths iLane

XP-DITE Proof-of-concept combined EU and TSA pre-clearance demonstrator at Shannon Airport, showing Smiths iLane

XP-DITE Proof-of-concept technology demonstrator at Scarabee integration facility

XP-DITE Proof-of-concept technology demonstrator at Scarabee integration facility

Shannon Airport’s Niall Maloney Operations Director and John Francis Chief Officer Security, with Mike Kemp from the XP-DITE project at the opening of the XP-DITE proof-of-concept combined pre-clearance checkpoint trial.

Shannon Airport’s Niall Maloney Operations Director and John Francis Chief Officer Security, with Mike Kemp from the XP-DITE project at the opening of the XP-DITE proof-of-concept combined pre-clearance checkpoint trial.

XP-DITE Proof-of-concept technology demonstrator trial at Scarabee integration facility, showing X-ray bag screening combined with in-line laser-based vapour and trace particle detection systems.

XP-DITE Proof-of-concept technology demonstrator trial at Scarabee integration facility, showing X-ray bag screening combined with in-line laser-based vapour and trace particle detection systems.

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