First joint workshop on the impact of artificial intelligence techniques on aviation security equipment

20-21 May 2021 - The ECAC Secretariat joined forces with the European Commission’s DG MOVE to organise a first workshop on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) techniques on aviation security.

Held virtually and gathering over 200 AI experts, practitioners, developers and end users, the workshop considered AI applications, their opportunities and risks, and featured presentations by regulators (United Kingdom Department for Transport, European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology – DG-CNECT, the Dutch National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism – NCTV, United States Transportation Security Administration), organisations (EUROCONTROL, JRC), airports (ACI EUROPE) and the industry.

Although there was a clear understanding on the many opportunities AI could bring to aviation security equipment, a first lesson learnt from this workshop was that Automated Prohibited Item Detection (APID) was the most expected outcome in the short term when it comes to the use of AI in security equipment.

Participants also agreed to focus in the future on four different aspects to develop AI in aviation security:

  • concept of operations: how to use AI algorithms in aviation security (in combination with human beings, stand alone, etc.);
  • testing environment: AI can bring a lot of opportunities, but “many things can also go wrong”, so approval/certification should ensure the AI algorithm is safe and secure and works perfectly when installed in airports;
  • regulatory environment: it is essential to encourage, guide and trigger development of solutions by manufacturers to promote trials at operational level by airports. It should also adequately manage the potential risks and vulnerabilities to prevent unwanted outcomes;
  • data used to train AI algorithm is obviously essential. Stakeholders should work on ensuring the data used enables AI to work in Europe.