WIT Press

Increasing Efficiency In Airport Security Screening


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A. Schwaninger


The prominence of aviation security has increased dramatically in recent years. As a reaction to the new threat situation large investments into modern security technology have been made. State-of-the-art x-ray screening equipment provides high-resolution images and many image enhancement features. However, the most expensive equipment is of limited value if the humans who operate it are not selected and trained to perform their task accurately and efficiently. This article presents results of studies conducted over the last four years which clearly show that efficiency in x-ray screening can be increased substantially by investing into human factors technologies that are based on results of visual cognition, object recognition and psychophysics. Keywords: airport security, human factors, detection performance, computer-based training, pre-employment assessment. 1 Introduction X-ray screening of passenger bags is an essential component of aviation security. Baggage screening technologies have evolved substantially over the last decades and state-of-the art x-ray systems can provide high quality images in a good resolution. However, recognizing object shapes in x-ray images is still a very difficult problem for computers. Any serious computer vision scientist will tell you that there still is a long way to go in order to build an artificial visual recognition system that can detect objects as quickly and reliably as humans do (for recent advances in biologically motivated computer vision see for example Bülthoff et al. [1]). Detecting all kinds of prohibited items quickly and reliably in x-ray images will continue to depend critically on human operators. Since there are large differences between people in terms of their visual abilities, a reliable


airport security, human factors, detection performance,computer-based training, pre-employment assessment.