VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is developing image processing technology that will improve surveillance of abandoned luggage in public places
Numerous CCTV systems are in use in public places which have the capacity to
gather large amounts of image material. For the time being, however, there are
no effective ways to analyse the mass of video data automatically and
recognise potential risk situations in advance. VTT is involved in an EU
research project aimed at developing IT solutions to this end.
A risk may be posed, for example, by luggage left in a public place which may
contain explosives or other dangerous substances. Terror attacks based on this
tactic have already claimed many civilian lives. Luggage surveillance is
particularly important at airports, railway stations, trade fairs, and public
spaces in nationally significant infrastructure.
The aim of
the SUBITO project, which is funded by the European Commission, is to improve
image analysis technology in existing CCTV systems. With the help of an
application developed as part of the project, cameras recognise abandoned
luggage automatically and rapidly identify, locate and track the person who
left it there.
The new application has significant commercial
potential, since it can be used to exploit image material before any incident
During the project, VTT has developed tools for
using smart cameras more effectively.
can move any abandoned luggage quickly aside should they conclude that it
poses a potential risk. The luggage can be transferred to the trade fair’s or
airport’s lost property office, for example, if it proves no more than a false
SUBITO enhances security in a cost-efficient manner,
since the new technology can be built onto the foundations of existing CCTV
systems. Individual privacy issues are thus easier to take into account,
because the end users must already take note of them in operating the system.
CCTV surveillance strengthens deterrence: often, awareness alone of
strengthened surveillance is enough to improve security in public places.
partner organisations from six European countries are involved in the SUBITO
project. The partners are experts in the field, from research institutes,
universities, businesses and end users.
The project continues
through to the end of next year and is being realised in close co-operation
with end users. The aim is to ensure that security authorities have access to
the technology that meets their needs.