QinetiQ working with the Transportation Security Administration

Visitors to this year’s DSEI will be the first to see the latest incarnation of QinetiQ’s SPO security threat detection system, currently in development with the USA’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Under a $2.86m contract awarded last year, QinetiQ is working with the TSA to develop SPO-NX; the next generation of Passive Millimetre Wave (PMMW) body scanners.

The technology is designed to identify security threats in densely populated locations, such as railway stations and ferry terminals, in response to international concerns over terrorist threats to transport hubs.

DSEI 2015 will offer the first chance to see a full-size model of the new unit and to discuss the latest developments with the QinetiQ team.

How SPO-NX works

SPO-NXThe system, an upgrade from the QinetiQ SPO-7R already in operational use by the TSA, enables the operator to scan crowds and search for anomalies without the need to disrupt the flow of foot traffic through the area.

It does this by passively sensing naturally occurring energy from individuals and the objects they are carrying. It then processes this information to detect suspicious items hidden about their person, such as assault weapons or explosive devices.

The system operator views only a CCTV picture of the people as they are scanned by the system at a range of up to 15 metres. A simple threat anomaly assessment from the millimetre wave sensor is displayed beside or overlaid onto the CCTV image for the operator to interpret. The scanner never creates an image of bodily characteristics beneath the subject’s clothing and does not emit any radiation.

What’s new?

QinetiQ and the TSA’s mission in developing SPO-NX is to enable rapid and flexible deployment while building on the detection capability of its predecessor. A compact sensor head with integrated calibration, along with the option of battery power, make the unit more mobile and quicker to set up. Remote operation over Ethernet and the addition of wall and ceiling mounts introduce greater flexibility, while improvements to the interface make operating the device more intuitive and effective.

For more information, visit the QinetiQ stand, S2-550, at Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI), 15 to 18 September 2015.

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