High-tech scanner spots people inside freight trucks

16th August 2019
Anna Flockett

A UK trial of the technology undertaken by Sequestim has shown how people can be clearly identified behind the curtains of freight trucks when they are travelling even at speeds up to 100 mph, providing a quick and non-intrusive way of screening potential security threats. The camera can also locate people hidden inside crates within these vehicles and can warn if people are carrying weapons.

It is believed the technology could be game-changing for border forces both here in the UK and across the world as it will allow authorities to screen vehicles without bringing them to a halt, and even screen vehicles on the open road.

This will dramatically speed up border security and at the same time revolutionise the ability to detect hidden items.

Sequestim’s CEO Paul Simmons said: “Our truck scanning solution is entirely new to the world and will be a great help in the fight against people smuggling and illegal immigration. We can see what is hidden inside trucks travelling at motorway speeds even if people are concealed inside crates. It’s quite remarkable.”

The scanning technology, which uses space technology to image human body heat, is the result of a collaboration between Sequestim and Cardiff University scientists.

The technology is extremely flexible and transferable and has already been trialled at Cardiff Airport as a security scanner to identify concealed threat objects on passengers whilst they are still moving and wearing outer clothing.

The technology used is so sensitive it could see a 100W light bulb at a distance of 500,000 miles (twice the distance to the Moon.)

“The camera was originally developed to study the most distant astronomical phenomena. For example, we map the faint radiation left over from the Big Bang. This map tells us a great deal about the nature of the whole Universe,” said Ken Wood, Sales and Marketing Director of Sequestim Ltd, a joint venture between Cardiff University and QMC Instruments.

“The camera detects millimetre-waves, which are just like visible light but at a wavelength more than one thousand times longer. Any items concealed beneath clothing show up very clearly as a shadow because the human body, by dint of its heat, acts like a light bulb at these wavelengths. Unlike the scanners currently in use, our system only needs a few seconds to do its work. We plan to make the world a safer place, but we will also make the security processes quicker and less of an imposition.”

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