Airports Are Using AI to Improve Security
Thu, April 22, 2021

Airports Are Using AI to Improve Security

Passenger air travel globally has increased. It is expected that it will continue to increase until 2030. The International Air Transport Association, the trade association for the world’s airlines, reported that passenger travel volume rose by 7.4% year-on-year since 2016 / Photo by: bfishadow via Wikimedia Commons

 

The use of artificial intelligence in the aviation industry has brought several significant changes in the way flights are being operated today. Many of the world’s leading airline service providers are currently using AI tools and technologies to deliver a more personalized traveling experience to their passengers. AI will play even more critical roles in the industry for the next few years, from building AI-powered airport kiosks to using it for automating airline operations. 

Passenger air travel globally has increased. It is expected that it will continue to increase until 2030. The International Air Transport Association, the trade association for the world’s airlines, reported that passenger travel volume rose by 7.4% year-on-year since 2016. With that, it’s important that airports improve their services to passengers. Anuraag Jain, the founder of Zensors, a company that offers real-time, intelligent video analytics for IP cameras, stated that AI can make the airport security screening process, which is usually very stressful for passengers and a significant operational challenge for airports and air carriers, a lot easier. 

"By using artificial intelligence to provide real-time data, airports can improve the passenger experience and optimize operations. Having enough time for a beer or coffee once airside is a huge relief for weary holiday passengers,” Jain said.

As of now, airports have already employed advanced technology such as biometrics to authenticate a traveler’s identity based on physical attributes like fingerprints. Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, stated that a future where travelers will no longer need to produce any identifying document at airports is entirely possible. “Most of the touchpoints that we currently loathe about airports today—the security and immigration—will disappear. And technology will enable all of those checks to be done in the background,” Griffiths said. 

According to CNBC, the world leader in business news and real-time financial market coverage, the vision, while sounding futuristic, is possible by integrating several features such as facial recognition, retinal scanning, and fingerprint ID. Sumesh Patel, the Asia Pacific president, stated that some airports are planning to adopt a new biometric security system integrated with the existing airport infrastructure. A recent survey by the Asia Pacific revealed that 29% of airports and 25% of airlines plan to integrate the system by 2020. 

One major thing that AI can help the aviation industry is improving the security of airports. Many have been using AI-powered tools to improve customer service, create engaging marketing content, and secure the safety of all passengers and staff. A report revealed that 79% of airports and 66% of airlines are planning to implement AI by 2021. They would be using AI to improve security, which means less time standing in airport security lines and more secure traveling experience. 

Here are some of the ways that AI can help improve security in airports.

Biometrics for Airport Security

Tech specialist SITA reported last 2019 that 77% of airports were planning major programs in biometric ID management. In fact, Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is already working to launch its first biometric terminal in the US. Passengers can use facial recognition scanners at self-service kiosks, TSA checkpoints, and boarding gates. It is expected that more airports will integrate fingerprinting, facial recognition, and retinal scans for security purposes. 

According to Airport Technology, an online site that covers news and in-depth analysis of the biggest stories in airport logistics, airline news, passenger trends, and global air travel patterns, researchers from the UK’s University of Manchester developed an AI system that can measure a human’s gait or walking pattern when they step on a pressure pad—a recent tool for behavioral biometrics. 

Tech specialist SITA reported last 2019 that 77% of airports were planning major programs in biometric ID management / Photo by: U.S. Customs and Border Protection via Flickr

 

Detect Weapons

AI can also help in detecting weapons, which is extremely important to ensure the safety of all the people inside the airport. Currently, several airports across the world are already using this technology while others are planning to do it soon such as Toronto’s Pearson International (YYZ), Canada’s busiest airport. It will soon use AI-powered technology known as Hexwave to detect weapons. Hexwave can detect metallic and non-metallic weapons including guns, knives, explosives, and more. 

Bill Riker, CEO of Liberty Defense Holdings Inc., stated that Hexwave works by capturing 3D radar images, which essentially identifies any item on a person’s body that doesn’t belong there. After that, it will analyze the images to look for any sign of a weapon concealed under clothing. This technology will be placed outside airport terminals so that threats can be detected before they even get inside.

Identify Risky Behaviors

Lastly, AI can help see or detect suspicious behaviors from passengers, which is important so authorities can immediately know if there’s something wrong. Experts believe that AI can transform the screening process into a full 360-degree view of a person’s behavior by collecting data from security screenings, behavior tracking, booking and travel history, and more. AI can be used to quickly detect terrorist behaviors as well as disgruntled passengers or airport/airline employees.

AI has great potential in making airports across the world more secure for passengers, which means they can maximize their time and enjoy their trip.

Lastly, AI can help see or detect suspicious behaviors from passengers, which is important so authorities can immediately know if there’s something wrong / Photo by: Johnpsolis via Wikimedia Commons