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Air Cargo Manifest Analysis to Aid Screeners


Develop software to correlate items on a shipping manifest with images obtained from the screening of air cargo skids.

Air cargo screening is performed by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulated entities. As private enterprises these entities need to screen air cargo for aviation security threats in an effective manner but also need to do so in economically viable ways. Screening air cargo through whole-skid X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) Explosive Detection Systems (EDS) imaging is a challenging enterprise. Air cargo skids are an approximate maximum size of 48” x 65” x 48”, which is much larger than checked baggage items, and contain much more diverse items ranging from fresh produce, to medicines, to dense electronics and heavy machine parts. Screeners are frequently called upon to break down skids and screen items individually (through X-ray, explosive trace detection and/or physical search) when X-ray images are not definitive enough to determine that no threats are contained within. This leads to increased costs in staffing requirements and decreased throughput. X-ray systems used to screen air cargo skids can distinguish organic, inorganic and metallic items for the screeners. Air cargo manifests are a source of information of what the skids contain and could be used to inform screeners of what to expect in an X-ray image. Air cargo manifest information could also be used to inform a screener when items are present that are sufficiently dense, cluttered or known to scatter X-rays (such as books or pallets of water) are and likely to present difficulties in X-ray screening. Software that can serve to decrease the number of skids that must be broken down for individual examination, resulting in increasing efficiency and saving costs for the regulated entity as well as ensuring improved screening and threat interdiction. The proposed solution should present high-level analytic conclusions to a screener based on the air cargo manifest. It should also allow screeners to call up the air cargo manifest and work in concert with existing X-ray and future CT-based (EDS) air cargo skid screening systems. It is envisioned that this solution would be standalone with a connection (e.g. an ethernet or USB interface to a standard PC) to the screening system and not integrated into existing devices.
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