Smiths Detection has been selected for European Union (EU) funding as part of a consortium to develop an intelligent customs border control screening system (BAG-INTEL) that will automatically detect narcotics in passenger baggage. The consortium is funded by Horizon Europe, which invests in research and innovation of the EU. Smiths Detection’s role will be to create an effective narcotics detection algorithm.
The BAG-INTEL consortium brings together technology providers and customs agencies to solve customs and border control challenges by targeting specific bags needing manual inspection. All bags will be automatically screened for narcotics between unloading from the aircraft and baggage reclaim area. The results of the screening will be combined with data to identify which luggage should be investigated further.
Smiths Detection’s algorithm will be developed by leveraging a combination of material discrimination, similar to that used in explosives detection, as well as shape-based deep learning, which is used for weapons detection. Advances in AI-based algorithms have enabled real-time, automatic identification of a fast-growing list of prohibited items. Initially, the algorithm will be designed for Smiths Detection’s hold baggage and air cargo screening system HI-SCAN 10080 XCT.
Smiths Detection science and technology director Glenn Tracey said that the development of the narcotics detection algorithm aligns with work that the company is already doing in this area and will be an addition to the iCMORE family of object recognition software which uses AI to reduce the burden on operators.
Coordinated by Legind Technologies (Denmark), key members of the BAG-INTEL consortium include research institutes, universities and other technology providers. In addition to the innovative bag tracking, they aim to deliver a digital twin for visualizing, testing and optimizing the BAG-INTEL solution, and a sustainable business model and deployment plan for its Pan-European uptake. In this context, customs agencies from Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Italy and Spain will represent the end user perspective.