Airport security is a necessary and enduring fact of life, though the technologies involved will inevitably improve. One new proposal is to use a harmless kind of microwave radar for high-resolution security imaging applications inside and around airports. Making the idea a reality is the EU-funded SOS project. The five-member consortium began in early 2012 and concludes at the end of 2015. The main goal is to design and develop new imaging sensors that detect dangerous items using X-band radar. The system is intended not to impede passenger flow. The project's first two years saw definition of user and operational requirements, with various options being compared. The group experimented with the use of X-band radar to observe vehicles outside airport buildings, particularly using a near-field Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) approach. The method, in conjunction with tomographic techniques and inverse-SAR processing of a simple moving target echo, was evaluated in terms of delivering high-resolution data. The team also developed algorithms for processing frequency-modulated continuous wave radar. Testing results confirmed the system's ability to track suspect vehicles around airport precincts. Simulations of various scenarios involving the tracking of multiple moving targets, including pedestrians and vehicles, also showed promise. Testing to date has established a satisfactory target-localisation ability, and constitutes an effective demonstration of the proposed technique. The outcome of the SOS project will be new airport security systems able to detect threats that current systems cannot, ultimately meaning safer air transportation. The new technologies will also mean increased competitiveness and commercial opportunity for European enterprises.
Airport security, security system, X-band radar, suspect vehicle, airport building, microwave radar, imaging application, imaging sensor, Synthetic Aperture Radar, moving target, high-resolution data, air transportation