Is this the end to having to take your shoes off at the airport?

An investment in technology means airport safety checks could soon let passengers keep shoes and jackets on as they pass through security. And this could happen within a year or so.

airport people walking

The hassle of having to undress when going through airport security has long been the scourge of airline travel. It’s inconvenient and causes frustrating delays.

So it’s great news that the British Government is investing in technology that will alleviate the need for passengers to remove their shoes and jackets as they pass through security checks.

A total of £1.8 million has been earmarked by the Department for Transport for eight projects that could ensure shorter queues and improved screening. One of these is a sophisticated imaging project being undertaken by a small team in Derbyshire to scan shoes for shoe bombs. This will be able to rapidly form high contrast images of footwear which can be analysed by computers that have been “taught” to recognise threats. Ultimately passengers would no longer need to remove their shoes before going through screening gates.

Another London based company, Scanna Msc, has designed a thin but robust sensor which acts as a”step on shoe scanner” to check for shoe bombs.

A firm based in Wales called Sequestim has designed an alternative walk through screening system which does not use X-rays. Instead radiation emitted from the passenger’s body as they walk through security will be measured and turned into an image that shows if they are concealing an explosive or another suspicious item. This could reduce delays drastically.

Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg said:

This latest £1.8 million of funding invests in innovative projects that will ensure we are continuing to capitalise on pioneering research. The aim is to have a safer and smoother travel experience for air passengers.

The safety of people travelling on all modes of transport is our top priority and the Future Aviation Security Solutions programme is just one example of the huge importance we place on the security of passengers.

We have a proud history of the early adoption and use of cutting edge technology and this programme is helping to ensure we continue to lead the way in airport security.

Each project team has been given 12 months to develop technology for trials at airports.

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