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Hold Baggage Screening Today

Over the last years, global terrorism using explosives placed in hold baggage as a weapon increased rapidly. “Improvised Explosive Devices” (IEDs) made by combining materials and substance are not able to be identified by using the current Explosives Detection Systems (EDS) in HBS processes at airports. This results in an urgent need for systems that can identify these materials and substances, since all baggage transported from a commercial airport must be screened for both prohibited objects and explosive or illicit materials (incl. solids, liquids, aerosols, foams and gels).

Existing deployment consists of a dual system setup followed by an agent based decision. Level 1 screening utilises automated detection following STD-2. Rejected bags are screened at Level 2 which utilises a STD-3 automated detection. In case of a reject at Level 2 screening, the baggage will be presented to the security agent for non-automated screening and a final decision will be made. The current technological solutions are not only expensive, they also depend on human made decisions and require a lot of space.

The existing standards will have to be changes due to renewed legislation. STD-3 machines are the only standard allowed for screening of baggage and will be deployed at Level 1. In theory the existing level 1 including the STD-2 will not be operative any longer and all baggage will directly be transported to the current Level 2, STD-3 screening that than becomes the new Level 1. In practice STD-3 machines will be places at Level 1. This poses the question on what to do on Level 2, the Alarm Resolution (AR).

A prototype containing Echo X technology is able to identify materials within cluttered scenes. A database containing all known features and logic combinations for high threats, explosives and illicit materials is used in addition with analysis software to identify the materials and indicate high threats. The Echo X technology can be used for second level screening as Alarm Resolution for EDS level 3. The technology can be integrated in current or new HBS systems.