The baggage customs control systems at airports detect and process cases of baggage containing contraband, i.e., goods that are illegal to import or whose import failed to be declared for customs clearance, such as drugs, tobacco, endangered species, raw food material, or currency. Depending on the risk assessment of a particular arrival, the baggage customs control staff may decide to run all baggage from the arriving flight through non-intrusive screening equipment (X-ray/CT), which helps them to identify suspicious luggage, which is then considered suitable for manual inspection. The main challenge for the customs operation is to re-identify that luggage after the passenger has picked it up from the carousel and proceeded toward the exit. And with the increase in the volume of passengers arriving by air at inland border airports, the need for increased efficiency of baggage customs control continues to grow.

BAG-INTEL’s envisioned solution to support the customs teams in efficiently tackling such challenges will involve high-resolution cameras and robust AI, which will provide an end-to-end continuous reidentification of the luggage. The solution will help to ensure that all baggage is scanned and that the suspicious luggage is kept track of so that the customs staff can easily find it and manually inspect it.

The BAG-INTEL solution will comprise three main components:

  1. an AI-camera-based end-to-end continuous reidentification of luggage
  2. new functionalities for enhanced scanning combining AI-based detection with X-ray absorption technologies for recognition of contraband concealed in the luggage, and
  3. a digital twin for BAG-INTEL system visualisation and performance optimisation designed for an operational context of an airport.

The main advantages of the BAG-INTEL solution include:

  • a completely non-intrusive end-to-end reidentification (no physical mark placed on the luggage),
  • no need for additional human resources,
  • no delays in baggage arrival at the carousel (imaging done while luggage is in motion)
  • increased effectiveness and efficiency (the staff will be able to focus only on pieces marked as suspicious)
  • interoperability to be easily interfaced with legacy systems.

To further improve the effectiveness and efficiency of customs control, the project will—in addition to the reidentification solution—provide new, AI-supported functionalities improved for the risk assessment of the luggage. BAG-INTEL will include new, dedicated X-ray absorption analysis and object recognition, as well as an analysis of relevant external data. Furthermore, the project will provide a digital twin for visualising, testing, and optimising the developed solution for the operational context of airports. This will support the end-users in identifying the setup with the best performance under specific conditions. Finally, BAG-INTEL will also develop a sustainable business model and deployment plan for the Pan-European uptake of the project results.