Using automation to make our airports safer

Based on the line-ups at most airports, a lot of us fly and we fly quite often.  Despite all of the issues that we seem to have with airlines and with airports, for the most part, they do a decent job in moving us from one place to another.

 

One of the biggest issues with running an airport is security... I am not referring to the ones who make you take your liquids out of your bag.  I am actually talking about the security of the airport itself, which can be equally as important.  Preventing unwanted people and vehicles from entering into sensitive areas is an important job for any airport, but given the sheer size of the tarmac at most major airports, it is a difficult job.

Enter in automation … or in this case, an automated vehicle.  The security crew at the Edmonton Airport have worked closely with local technology groups in Alberta to create what is believed to be the first unmanned ATV that has the capability of monitoring the 20Km (12.5 mile) fence that surrounds the airport.

 

The vehicle is fully autonomous and helps to not only improve the security effectiveness but also aids in doing routine maintenance checks while allowing the staff to focus on other items.

 

One of the issues at the Edmonton airport, considering its remoteness is the potential for wild animals to attempt to enter.  The patrol unit is capable of not only detecting animals (as opposed to people), but is also able to correctly identify which animal it is.

 

Like most smart automation deployments, the goal is not to replace any of their existing security staff but rather to allow them to do more with less.  The eventual goal for this unit is to be able to do some remote inspections for other projects, like Oil and Gas sites as well as temporary events.

 

The Bottom Line

Let’s chalk this one up to a success story for the moment.  It takes various equipment that has been used in other areas and makes it a viable solution for an actual problem, which is more than many IoT-based solutions tend to do.  If further thinking goes into more solutions like this, the IoT industry will be just fine in the future …