Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 2 - CONSORTIS (Concealed Objects Stand-Off Real-Time Imaging for Security)

Project Context and Objectives:

There is a need to improve the quality of security systems which scan people as they enter a secure or protected area. As terrorism continues to be a threat we need to ensure future systems have a high level of protection and are capable of detecting threats with a high probability of detection and rejecting false alarms. At the same time these systems need to operate in real time to avoid unnecessary queues and adopt ethical best practice to ensure people are treated fairly, their privacy respected and that there is no discrimination. The European Commission through FP7 raised a call for proposals to address this need and this project was selected. It will lead to the demonstration of a Concealed Object Stand-Off Real-Time Imaging for Security system (CONSORTIS) at an airport in 2016. CONSORTIS is a 38 month project with eleven partners from five EU member states and this is the second annual report. It is a confidential project with classified deliverables and is conscious of a need to protect the intellectual property developed to ensure exploitation. Information in the public domain can be found on the project website.


The overall objective of CONSORTIS is to develop and pilot a dual-mode (active/passive multiband) submillimetre wave (SMMW) video-rate imaging system with automated anomaly detection capability for reliable, discreet and rapid threat object detection. This system will have the following properties:
• Non-intrusive, safe and accurate – SMMW systems are non-ionising, and the exposure level for the active front end illumination will be well below the established limit.
• Speed –the system will be capable of near-real time imaging to facilitate “walk-by” security screening solutions
• SMMW (“THz”) operation – the system will incorporate passive sensors covering frequencies from ~200 up to ~600 GHz, and the active radar also operates in this band.
• Multi-frequency operation – the passive system will cover more than one frequency band for differentiation of materials
• Automated threat recognition capability - Algorithms will be developed to make use of the complementary image outputs of the passive and active sensors
• Privacy issues –the ethical requirements have been adopted in the user requirements document
• Pilot/demonstration – The system will be demonstrated at an airport.

Project Results:
Progress has been made in the second year. The design has been completed and manufacturing has been started, although delayed.

All but one of the deliverables planned for 2015 were completed during the reporting period. There has been one meeting of the Steering Group and one meeting of the Exploitation, Industrialisation and Ethics Advisory Board (EIEAB).

Solution Specification and Validation
The needs of the airport users for a CONSORTIS solution have been captured and continual monitoring of any new requirements for CONSORTIS has been performed. Adjacent markets have been explored. User and system requirement documents were generated. The user requirements were captured from structured interviews of personnel from airport security, regulators and operators. On-going technical oversight of the project was performed.

Ethical Aspects Advisory
The use of body scanners at airports requires a balance between preserving the rights of the individual and the safety of the aircraft and its passengers. This balance has been analysed and reported from an ethical perspective. The topic of procedural justice was examined in social psychology and philosophy. The first study on this topic was designed and performed. The results were analysed and preliminary conclusions made.

Automated Anomaly Detection
In Automated Anomaly Detection (AAD), progress was made in developing algorithms for passive and active imagery. Through the use of state of the art algorithms the software will indicate if a threat is present. The algorithm research has used data from a slow-scan Pathfinder imaging radar and from the ARGON prototype system. The work has resulted in the identification of a base-line algorithm for use with passive imagery. Preliminary results of anomaly detection algorithms for active imagery have also been reported. Progress has also been made on the use of a ‘support sensor’ to track the position and pose of the subject to be scanned.

Camera Design
A submillimetre camera is has been designed, including the primary sensors radar and radiometer. The camera and subsystem design was performed for optics and optomechanics, active front-end, submm wave transceiver, passive front end and back end, control module and passenger control. The radar provides three dimensional data (azimuth, elevation and range) and the attainable field of view is dependent on the number of transceivers that are available in the demonstrator. The radiometer will be based on a large cooled focal plane array operating at two frequencies within the 200-600GHz waveband and will have a field of view suitable for covering the whole person.
The command module will control the whole system. It will also conduct any housekeeping or maintenance actions required as well as logging the use of the system. A passenger control system acting on information from the command module will instruct passengers on the correct method to enter, transit and exit the system.

Camera Manufacture, Characterisation and Test
The manufacture of the camera subsystems has been started, including radar transceiver modules, passive system detectors, optical and scanning systems, automatic anomaly detection, command module and passenger control systems. These tasks were delayed, consequently the subsystem manufacturing could not be completed during the reporting period and tests on them have not been performed. However, the subsystem and system test specifications were produced.

Dissemination and Exploitation
A draft exploitation plan has been written, describing the market and societal trends driving the need for the proposed solution, and the legislative and ethics drivers, identifying the market sectors of interest and how the solution compares to potential competitors. The background intellectual property (IP) has been recorded. Plans are also presented for dissemination through publications and exhibitions, but these take account of the need to protect IP prior to its release.

Potential Impact:
Successful outcome

When CONSORTIS successfully completes its airport demonstration in 2017 it will open up a European route to high performance ethical screening for aviation. This equipment can transition with further work into an aviation security product and can also find application in other adjacent markets, e.g. customs, other border crossings and high value buildings. This will be the first time such a walk through system with high probability of detection and low false alarm rates has been developed, thus producing a quantum step in people screening and providing safe and more convenient travel in Europe and elsewhere.

Expected benefits
1) Reduced airport security check times and queues and enhanced customer experience.
2) Improved public safety by increased detection performance.
3) Improved public safety by the use of non-ionising radiation.
4) Protection of public privacy using automation.
5) Economic benefits to airport operators.
6) Business opportunities for the product creating EU jobs.
7) Building EU manufacturing capability in security systems.

List of Websites:

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