Improving airport security

Improving the security of large public areas such as airports is a never-ending process. At the same time, efforts are continually being made to render them easier to operate. Location sensing technologies make it possible to determine the positions of objects, people and vehicles in real time. The LocON project is bringing such technologies to airports.
Airport aprons are extremely busy areas: Airport staff are constantly driving baggage tractors to aircraft, loading air freight containers into holds or refueling planes. Cleaning crews have to complete their work on each plane before the next passengers arrive. It is important to be able to identify all people, vehicles and objects that are present on the apron at any one time. Are there any unauthorized persons present in the area? Is anybody putting themselves in danger? For security staff monitoring the area on screens, keeping track of everything is an almost impossible task.
The LocON platform will make it possible to automatically control access by airport staff as well as vehicles and other objects without the use of gates. Fraunhofer IIS is working in conjunction with European partners to further develop this platform. Using wireless technology, the platform is able to track the positions of people and objects. To this end, vehicles, containers and other objects are equipped with tiny transmitters. Combined with video surveillance, this technology offers further potential: Up until now, security personnel had not only to simultaneously watch screens showing images captured by different cameras, but also to be familiar with every authorized person. In the future, robocams could, for instance, track two people at a time and automatically match their movement patterns against the position data collected. The system could then notify security staff of any detected problems such as an imminent accident.
In collaboration with leading providers of positioning systems, LocON is going to be installed at Faro Airport, Portugal. The system is later to be employed to improve safety and security in other areas, for example on construction sites, at railroad stations or on company premises.