NEWS

CCTV for Airplanes?

By Laura Spadanuta

Passenger airplanes may be the next target of CCTV cameras, according to ABC News.  The European Union's Security of Aircraft in the Future European Environment (SAFEE) project has developed a prototype system that places cameras in every passenger's seat in an airplane, along with wide-angle cameras on the aisles.  The system also employs software that can detect potential terrorist activity and "air-rage" incidents.  The software is even reported to detect facial expressions.

The system performed well in tests this January that simulated terrorist and unruly passenger behaviour scenarios in a fake Airbus A380 fuselage, say the researchers that built it.

Systems to analyse CCTV footage – for example, to detect violence (with video) or alert CCTV operators to unusual events – have been designed before. But the SAFEE software must cope with the particularly challenging environment of a full aircraft cabin.

The article reports that among the behaviors being detected are:  running in the cabin, standing near the cockpit, a person nervously touching his or her face, and excessive sweating.

The article quotes Mohan Trivedi of University of California, San Diego, as being skeptical of the system.  He says the system correctly identifies people about 70 percent of the time, and even then, it is in much more favorable conditions than in the airplane cabin.

The work is being presented at the International Conference on Computer Vision Systems in Greece.  One of the system's developers, James Ferryman of the University of Reading, UK, has admitted it will take "thousands of tests on everyday passengers" before the system can be deemed reliable.

 

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