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Early warning systems to boost security for Critical Infrastructures

Early warning systems that extend the ‘security zone’ can help our vital infrastructure to become more secure against intruders.

Our daily lives draw on energy from power stations, we may well use stations and airports, we get our water from reservoirs – all these are known as Critical Infrastructures. The EU-funded ARGOS project is developing early warning systems to boost security. The project's innovative approach extends the ‘security zone’, enabling operators to get warning signals as soon as a situation arises. Now the project has produced a 3D video to show how their research can be applied to help our vital infrastructure to become even more secure against intruders. The simulation, posted on YouTube, shows how the project has managed to create a system that uses complex techniques to calculate risk factors that sensors identify outside the installations’ perimeter. Using data mining, data fusion and what are known as ‘rule based engines’ ARGOS, which stands for Advanced Protection of Critical Buildings by Overhauling Anticipating Systems, has developed an innovative early warning security system, letting site operators know if there is a potential threat. The rule-based engines allow operators to ‘teach’ the system what alarms are true enabling systems to ‘learn’ and improve over time. By bringing together cutting-edge computer science and analytics, the system avoids sounding false alarms which means operators monitoring the warning system know it is not throwing up false positives, such as wild life movements. Responses can be made by operators on site and those managing installations remotely. Along with creating technology that is able to assess real risk, ARGOS is also focused on low energy solutions, making it able to operate even in environments in which energy may not always be available. Researchers have managed this by using energy efficient algorithms, low energy communications and self-powered networks of sensors. Video sensors have auto sleep modes and the microelectronics involved have been optimised for energy efficiency. In bringing the above elements together, researchers have created a system to keep vital installations safe even when they stretch over hundreds of kilometres where no security personnel are available. The technology can also be used for hydroelectric and harbour installations, to prevent attack from the sea or of cargo ships in harbours. Pipe lines, energy installations and nuclear reactors will also be able to benefit from the technology and ARGOS can also be used to detect threats from the air. Infrasonic sensors can detect the directions in which vehicles are travelling and infra red cameras and laser scanners have been fine tuned to give reliable data in fog and at night. The project, which runs from the start of 2014 to the end of 2015, receives EUR 3.5 million of investment under the FP7 programme. For further information please visit: ARGOS http://www.argos-project.eu/

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