The Customs X-Ray Simulator

A new platform for cargo X-Ray image interpretation training

The future of x-ray security is discussed by the Center for Adaptive Security Research and Application

The development of transportation and information technology has advanced the interconnectedness of global markets. With this global economic integration, new trade partners, shipping and transport routes emerge. In the United Kingdom alone, the weight of goods carried by heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) to or from the UK amounted to 1.63 billion tonnes between October 2014 and September 2015 (UK Department for Transport, 2016). The number of main freight units handled by major ports rose to 12.8 million units (UK Department for Transport, 2015). Similar growths in freight units are being reported by other European transport hubs.

The growing cargo traffic requires efficient inspection procedures. Hence, shipments passing checkpoints are risk profiled by the Customs Administrations to identify inconsistencies between declared and transported goods, illegal material, and threats to society.

For this reason, the Center for Adaptive Security Research and Applications (CASRA) has developed a new platform for cargo X-ray image interpretation training, called the Customs X-Ray Simulator. This test and training system was specifically designed for cargo X-ray screening officers by computer scientists, psychologists and security experts of CASRA in close collaboration with customs organizations funded by the EU 7th Framework project ACXIS.

This article explores the daily work routines of cargo X-ray screeners, identifies the challenges in the process and explains how training with the Customs X-Ray Simulator may improve the screening competency of customs officers. Besides the practical implications, the subchapters ahead also provide an inside look into the scientific research behind computer-based training, the ACXIS project and the Customs X-Ray Simulator.


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