• White Paper-Perceptics: The Case Against Automated Anomaly Detection in Vehicle Inspections Process

    KTC again reaches out to Perceptics to continue this series of point papers on subjects we are frequently asked about. We asked our partner Perceptics (www.perceptics.com) to address the case against automated anomaly detection in vehicle inspections process. So, Phil, Jennie, Don – over to you…

    Thousands of facilities worldwide have vehicle identification and inspection processes as part of perimeter security protocols. Gate officers at these facilities may inspect hundreds of vehicles on a daily basis before granting vehicles and occupants access to the facility. But how do security managers maintain the highest standard of watchfulness, while avoiding monotony and general malaise and ensuring adherence to standard security operating procedures?

    Automated under vehicle inspection systems are growing in popularity because they allow gate officers to quickly view images of a vehicle’s undercarriage on a computer screen, allowing them to see areas that are most often missed when using a “mirror-on-a-stick”. While automated under vehicle inspection systems increase vehicle throughput and expedite the inspection process, gate officers can become too reliant upon its performance and fail to employ the critical human thought process. Security managers implementing automated systems with anomaly detection do so with the common misconception that technology can become the decision maker in a threat assessment situation – rather than as a tool to help officers make vital decisions. Can the multitude of threats be reduced to an automated comparison that utilizes two or three computer parameters such as size, shape, and contrast? Automated under vehicle inspection technology should never replace the human element of decision making and should only be used to assist in the decision making process. Furthermore, officers who become overly reliant on automated anomaly detection technology fail to utilize their experience and “common-sense” decision-making abilities and fall into the dangerous zone of malaise in day-to-day operations. Nothing can be more detrimental to the security of the facility and the well-being of its occupants than officers and security professionals who are less than observant.

    The problem with implementing systems with this feature lies in the understanding of how anomaly detection works. Most security managers who have either considered or who have implemented under vehicle inspection technology with automated anomaly detection are under the impression that the system understands when a threatening anomaly is present. A wide misconception is that anomaly detection capabilities are utilizing the same form of technology that detects radiation or chemicals associated with bombs, but this is not the case. In the case of Under Vehicle Inspection Systems offering anomaly detection, the technology is image comparison software. What is really occurring in this technology is the software is comparing the undercarriage of the vehicle from an image captured of the same vehicle from a previous visit. When the software senses something different from one photo to another, the software will highlight the differences and send an alert. If a vehicle goes through a car wash prior to a visit but then returns on a separate occasion with a dirty undercarriage, false anomalies could register in the software. In most cases, anomalies turn out to be organic, such as dirt or debris. Officers then find themselves spending more time, ruling out these false alarms instead of assessing the image and data on hand and the surrounding environment. Productivity and thoroughness of the examination can be compromised under these conditions. One has to ask the question, are you really utilizing anomaly detection if your time is spent ruling out non-problem areas? In cases where you do not see repeat traffic, anomaly detection is of very little use.

    Some security professionals have noted that they implement these technologies as a means of hiring “less than qualified” officers and supplying “less than adequate” security training. In those cases, malaise is, unfortunately, a problem that exists at the highest level of management.

    Perceptics’ Under Vehicle Inspection systems give gate officers the best color images possible and comes equipped with enhancement features that allow them to closely inspect, compare and archive vehicle images and data. With the right tools, gate officers are more empowered to execute thorough standard operating procedures without falling into the dangerous area of complacency and over reliance on technology. Perceptics’ Under Vehicle Inspection systems appoint a greater inspection process, so officers stay more focused on threat assessment.

    Have a look at the Top 5 Concerns of Security Directors and Managers Infographic.

    For more information, please go to their site: www.perceptics.com or contact Don Gasch at info@perceptics.com or 865.228.3035.

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