Houston-Area Airports Use New Surveillance Tools for Perimeters

Two Houston-area airports are pushing the future of how video can be used to secure perimeters.

Security firm Honeywell announced today that its "Advanced Video Processing System" (AVPS) will be beta-tested at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport and at William P. Hobby airport. The airports will also use "Radar Video Surveillance" (RVS) for tracking targets on the ground and for establishing a secure perimeter to the airports.

The AVPS system uses video analytics and predetermined algorithms to identify behaviors recorded by the video surveillance system. Classic examples of how this technology is used include the ability to select an object and impart rules onto that object, such as if it is moving into a certain area or at an abnormal speed. The beta AVPS system will allow for searches within the video.

The RVS software system comes straight from Honeywell's Aerospace division where it was initially developed for tracking missiles and protecing ports. The technology has since been adapted for ground use and perimeter security monitoring.

The facilities present themselves as prime test targets for this new technology. The George Bush Intercontinental Airport has some 30 miles of perimeter, thus presenting not only a challenge for maintaining a solid barrier-style system or the use of live patrols, but also presenting a unique opportunity to show the power of video-based perimeter protection systems. The airport's perimeter is protected by a horse-mounted Airport Rangers patrol program.

According to Honeywell, the RVS and the AVPS systems will often be used in conjunction. In areas where ground-based radar system is obstructed by buildings, the AVPS system overlaps to provide the data needed for securing the perimeter.

In the announcement of the new systems, Houston Airport System's Deputy Director of Public Safety Mark Mancuso said that he doesn't feel that the use of the video surveillance technology for perimeter security is just a trend.

"We know that the best way to achieve this is not by simply reacting to incidents after-the-fact or by jumping on the latest trend, but by really taking a hands-on-approach to understanding the needs of our airports," said Mancuso. "This new technology provides the right kind of surveillance system we need."

According to Honeywell, the project will use a number of their surveillance products, including fixed and PTZ FLIR thermal cameras. The surveillance video will be imported and distributed through a geospatial map interface, that gives security personnel a visual evaluation of the targets acquired by the surveillance system.

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