Secure aviation

The Smith Institute designed a quantitative framework for decision-makers to mitigate risk and reduce delays for air passengers.

The problem

The INSTINCT-TD2 project, launched in July 2010, was a government initiative to work with industry to discover, trial and showcase new and innovative technologies, solutions or ideas, specifically around aviation security. 

It was focussed on identifying new technologies, systems and ideas to enhance aviation security and the passenger experience, while potentially helping to increase airport revenues.

The solution

The TD2 project was led by Thales UK on behalf of the Home Office, and was supported by the Smith Institute’s quantitative framework for system security.

During the TD2 project more than forty aviation security technologies were selected for demonstration at the TD2 Showcase events, held at Thales UK’s Crawley site in December 2010 and the Home Office Scientific Development Branch exhibition in March 2011. Around twenty of the selected companies also carried out live trials at some of the UK’s busiest airports to show how their technologies could potentially be integrated into the airports of the future. Three of the technologies were awarded cash prizes totalling £50,000 by Thales.

The Smith Institute worked as a delivery partner with Thales, designing a modelling framework to demonstrate quantitatively to decision-makers how combinations of technologies and security systems in the face of evolving threats can both mitigate risk and reduce delays for passengers and cargo.

Aviation security involves striking a balance between many conflicting requirements and the trade-offs between these requirements is a key output from the framework: passenger screening must not be too intrusive, costly, inconvenient or lengthy, and yet it must guard against potential threats and illegal activities of many kinds.

 

The benefit

The Smith Institute designed a quantitative framework for decision-makers to mitigate risk and reduce delays for air passengers.

The framework shows the kind of effects that can be considered and modelled, and the benefits and insights that arise from modelling a system that is wider than a single screening process.  In particular we modelled the interaction between threats, residual risk and passenger delay, and showed how a quantitative model like this can guide the choice and settings of screening processes, staff training and passenger capacity.


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