How new technologies are boosting airport safety and efficiency
Airport operators are under intense pressure to maintain impeccable safety and efficiency standards. Fortunately, advanced technologies are helping the aviation industry keep travellers safe while minimising delays and creating seamless customer experiences. Here are just a few of the latest developments to benefit the industry:
- Anti-drone technologies
Drones represent a significant risk to airports. If an individual gets their hands on a drone and flies it over the runway, the resultant delays can be severe. Fortunately, airport operators are quickly discovering ways to combat drone attacks. <a href=“https://www.howtogeek.com/221077/htg-explains-what-geofencing-is-and-why-you-should-be-using-it/”>Geo-fencing technologies</a>, for example, contains internal GPS systems that prevent drones from entering certain areas.
- Robust body scanners
Body scanners have been in use for decades now, helping airport staff detect potential security threats. Recently, however, <a href=“https://phys.org/news/2018-12-passenger-scanner-space-technology-airport.html”>more powerful body scanners</a> have been developed to speed up security checks and reduce the need for passengers to stay still or remove certain items of clothing. Using state-of-the-art heat imaging technologies, these devices can quickly spot the difference between threatening items and everyday hand luggage.
E-passports have helped airports improve their security credentials over the past decade. Also referred to as biometric passports, e-passports contain special chips that can be scanned automatically at airports all over the world. This reduces pressure on airport staff to manually check every passport and mitigates the likelihood of human error.
- Behavioural profiling technologies
Behavioural profiling technologies detect abnormal behavioural responses in travellers, alerting airport staff to activities that could be considered ‘suspicious’. The technologies are controversial and are still undergoing testing. However, advocates of behavioural assessment devices claim they represent a highly efficient way to spot security threats. The systems are minimally intrusive and are designed to spot changes in a person’s posture, gestures, eye movements, and voice.
- Facial recognition software
Facial recognition technologies are used across the world to determine whether passengers’ passport photos match their physical features. Contrary to popular belief, the human brain is not particularly adept at spotting subtle differences in facial features. In this way, facial recognition software is helping to reduce security problems caused by human error.
It is worth noting, however, that the full potential of facial recognition software is yet to be realised. It is hoped that travellers will soon be able to check in, deposit their luggage, and board a flight without having to show their passport at all. This would significantly reduce airport traffic and time spent in waiting rooms.
- Terahertz screening
Terahertz screening represents the cutting-edge of aviation technologies and could soon transform the airline industry. The technology works by detecting heat emissions from passengers’ bodies to visualise hidden (and potentially dangerous) items. Despite some scepticism, companies at the forefront of terahertz screening have found the technology to be safe.
- Mobile applications
Increasingly, airports are using mobile applications to speed up the check-in and boarding process, guiding passengers to relevant gates and helping people drop off their luggage swiftly. In future, these apps are likely to get more sophisticated and continue to improve the passenger experience.