Scientists from the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) at Queen’s are working to develop airport scanners that are faster and more secure. Dr. Okan Yurduseven has been awarded a Leverhulme Research Leadership award in order to work on developing this technology, which could theoretically cut scanning time dramatically.
Currently, it takes about 10 seconds for an airport scanner to securely analyze data. Engineers believe that with the proper innovation, they could cut this time down to less than a tenth of a single second. Although 10 seconds may not seem long, it adds up when there are a lot of people at the airport. Furthermore, the time can be slowed even more when scanning for contraband items — a process that is problematic in and of itself.
Recent studies have indicated that it is still possible to smuggle dangerous items through the scanners, which are also used at major events. In a 2015 study, it was revealed that investigators were able to smuggle in banned weapons or mock explosives in 95 percent of all tests — and that’s a number researchers believe they can improve on.
“This Leverhulme Research Leadership Award will allow us to create technology that is fully electronic, rather than manually operated, and this will allow the scanners to process the images in real time – we think the entire scan process should be complete in less than a tenth of a second. By integrating machine learning into the design process, we will substantially reduce the false alarm rates in detecting threat objects. The outcome of this project will be of vital importance to ensure the safety of the public right across the globe. In order to do this we will use state-of-the-art millimetre-wave radar systems. We expect that the end result will be a much more effective system, leading to safer outcomes and reduced waiting times – so hopefully shorter queues at airports and other venues that use these scanners.”
Dr Okan Yurduseven from the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) at Queen’s
Engineers are now working to create a team of dedicated researchers to make this dream a reality. The five-year project will include work on deep learning schemes, radar technology, and image-processing algorithms — all in the hope of creating a safer, faster airport experience for all.