New software will track unauthorised presence at airports

December 10th, 2008 - 6:00 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 10 (IANS) A new software will soon help airport staff maintain strict vigil and promptly track unauthorised persons and objects. The airport apron is a beehive of activity. Ground staff drive baggage trolleys to the aircraft, load air freight containers in the hold and refuel the aircraft. But which persons, vehicles and objects are moving around on the apron?

Are all the people authorised? Are people getting into hazardous situations? For the security staff who have to supervise the terrain on the monitor, it is almost impossible to keep track of everything.

A new technology LocON, sponsored by the European Union and developed by Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS), will greatly facilitate the work of the security staff in future.

LocON is a platform that enables automatic gate-free access control, both for the people who work there and for vehicles and other objects. LocON permanently locates all persons and objects by radio.

“The security staff watches the entire airfield on a huge monitor,” explained René Dünkler, head of marketing at the IIS. “LocON recognises everything that moves on the airfield and is authorised to do so - in real time.”

Accordingly, employees are required to wear an electronic badge that transmits a radio signal and thus the person’s location and identification to the LocON platform. Vehicles, air freight containers and other objects are also equipped with a tag that emits radio signals.

“LocON can process various types of radio positioning signals, GPS and RFID alike,” said Dünkler. Combining it with video surveillance systems offers even greater potential.

Until now, security officers always had to keep an eye on several monitors showing the images from various cameras, and to know which people were authorised to be there, said a Fraunhofer release.

In future, robocams could track two persons and automatically compare their motion profiles with the positioning data from LocON. If the system discovers anything wrong - if there is any risk of an accident - the security officers receive an alert.

LocON is being installed at Portuguese airports for pilot application in a joint effort with leading location system providers.

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