If you’re a frequent traveller, or have travelled recently, you will likely be aware of the ramped safety and security measures now being carried out in airports globally. With laptop bans on flights to the UK and US, tighter entry requirements for the US and additional airport screening carried out across Australia & New Zealand, in 2017 we have witnessed one of the largest influx in airport security since 9/11. Although tighter security measures provide comfort in a time of ever-increasing global security threats, out-dated systems and time-consuming processes are the bane of every business traveller’s journey.
With studies showing airport security processes to be the business traveller’s biggest frustration at the airport, there is a large demand for innovation in this sector. The aviation industry’s biggest challenge today is identifying how to increase airport security measures, while decreasing the inconvenience for travellers. Many companies and organisations around the world are dedicating their time and resources to offer solutions, and we are now starting to see new advancements in airport technology. To put things into perspective, the global airport security market is expected to exceed $12.8 billion by 20231, demonstrating the significance of this issue.
If you’re among the 40% of travellers2 who choose their route based on airport transfer experience, then new airport technology and security measures could have a large impact on the way you travel for business.
We’ve listed some of the new technologies to look out for in 2018 and beyond.
Computerised tomography, or CT Scanners, are commonly associated with head injuries. However, the technology also proves useful when searching for liquids or dangerous goods in baggage entering the plane hold. Due to the large size and noisiness of the scanners, their use has been restricted to check-in luggage only and is conducted away from crowded areas to avoid disruption to passengers. Recent advancements in the technology has reduced the size and sounds associated with the scanners.
To take things one step further, experts in aviation security have suggested turning this technology into ‘CT walkways’, to replace the current conveyer belt security system for carry-on luggage. Instead of waiting for the person in front of you to search every inch of their bags and remove all shoes, belts and hats, the CT walkways would be able to detect any questionable items carried by passengers or in their luggage, as they pass through.
Facial recognition technology is becoming increasingly popular in airports around the world, providing a streamlined, paperless and efficient boarding experience. Until recently, the technology was mainly used for check-in and exit checks, but with a match-rate of almost 100%, the technology has now expanded to baggage drops and has been adopted by individual airlines for boarding processes. The self-service solution provides a better travel experience for passengers, while also enabling high-level automated security checks.
Closer to home, Brisbane Airport implemented the Smart Path biometric technology earlier this year, with Air New Zealand passengers the first to trial the seamless boarding experience. Following the success of the trial to-date, the Government has announced plans to automate 90% of air travel processing by 20203.
Possibly one of the most controversial suggestions in airport security innovation is behavioural profiling. Behavioural profiling is a method of detecting abnormal behavioural responses from travellers that may be considered ‘suspicious’. Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments inReal Time (AVATAR)4 is an example of this technology and involves a robot interacting with travellers and assessing for any changes in eyes, voice, gestures and posture to determine if there are any potential security risks.
The AVATAR technology is currently undergoing trials by the Canadian Border Services Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to test accuracy. The ethical and social implications of this method have caused some concern in the industry, however, those in favour of the technology claim it is non-intrusive and highly accurate.
Watch this space…
The airport security landscape is experiencing some exciting growth and remains a top priority for governments and aviation officials. The future of airport technology seeks to enhance the traveller experience by streamlining and automating airport processes, to ensure greater security measures with minimal disruption to passengers.