Ministers have invited academics and industry experts to bid for a share of £4.5m to develop the next generation of aviation and border security solutions.
The Future Screening for Aviation and Borders competition will provide the cash over the next two years towards ‘innovative solutions that can enhance the screening of people and goods and strengthen the detection of dangerous, illicit and contraband items’.
The competition has been developed by the Future Aviation Security Solutions (FASS) programme – a joint initiative between the Home Office and Department for Transport (DfT) – and the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) ‘to encourage novel ideas that cover all aspects of aviation and border screening – from passengers to cargo, mail, hold bags and more’.
Officials said that with the global shift towards a more integrated transport system, greater autonomy and automation, the competition is also looking for innovations capable of bringing current and future security concepts together.
‘This could mean a more streamlined and non-intrusive screening experience for passengers and staff with security processes working together to screen individuals as they travel through an airport.’
New aviation minister Baroness Vere said: ‘The UK has some of the most advanced aviation security in the world, and we must continue to make it safer and easier for everyone using airports.
‘We want ambitious and innovative businesses to apply for funding to develop the security technologies of the future.’
Officials said that while screening passengers is an essential part of aviation security, threats to the industry are multifaceted and ever-evolving. By splitting the competition into five challenges the FASS programme is ‘inviting innovators to think about different aspects of security’.
The five challenges:
- Improving the screening process for passengers, staff and their belongings
- Improving the screening process for in-flight supplies
- Rapid screening of cargo, mail or hold bags for prohibited and contraband items
- Improving aviation security screening using a systems approach / systems integration
- Going beyond aviation security – improving detection and identification of contraband and illicit items at the border
Baroness (Charlotte) Vere of Norbiton (pictured) was appointed as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the DfT last month.
She replaced Baroness Sugg, who moved to the Department for International Development.
In addition to aviation, her responsibilities are:
- transport security
- EU and EU exit
- legislation in the Lords
- civil contingencies