Hi-tech scanners for ports. BBC News Monday 5 May 2003

Abraham Associates were engaged to design the system mechanics, structure and alignment jigs. Work started with careful requirement and specification acquisition. A thorough design study developed concepts to satisfy the specification and meet the delivery deadline. Suppliers were identified for all deliverable aspects and involved in early development to also help ensure the delivery could be met.

A press release to the BBC was as follows:

A hi-tech way of spotting illegal immigrants trying to get into the UK has been developed.

The detection system, known as Pandora, works by showing the presence of people hiding in vehicles as they are driven through it. It has been developed at Siemens's research labs at Roke Manor in Hampshire and is expected to start being used in the French port of Calais in two month's time.

Figures show that 86.000 people sought asylum in the UK in 2002 and the Home Office is keen to tackle the widespread abuse of the asylum system.

Passive aid

Pandora scans vehicles such as lorries where asylum seekers are often concealed.

The side of the lorry is scanned as it drives through the device and a colour or black and white image similar to that of an airport X-ray scanner is then displayed to the operator.

Security staff can be alerted if the image proves suspicious.

There is no disruption to the traffic as the device can scan vehicles as they pass through at normal speed.

"We have combined our expertise in advanced software design, mechanical and electronic engineering to develop this passive detection system in a short timescale," said Martin Harman, senior project manager at Roke Manor Research.

It is anticipated that the technology could be deployed for uses other than border control.

It could also prove useful as a security device for monitoring trucks arriving at big events such as the Olympic Games or for screening deliveries to sensitive locations such as military bases or government buildings.

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