EMPA – ACXIS Project

The project ACXIS brings together the expertise in X-ray cargo inspection of leading research centres in Germany, France and Switzerland, the major European supplier for cargo inspection systems, a research and development organisation focusing on training of X-ray inspection officers, and Customs administrations of the Netherlands and Switzerland. The main objectives of this project are to implement a manufacturer independent reference database for X-ray images of illegal and legal cargo, to develop procedures and algorithms in order to uniform X-ray images of different cargo scanners, to develop a training simulator for inspection officers and a toolbox enclosing several assisted / automated identification techniques for potentially illegal cargo. Historic images of real detections, images of illegal cargo mock-ups as well as images of legitimate cargo will be integrated into the reference database.

ACXIS – Improved inspection procedures

Effective and efficient border controls are essential in today’s world of trade and the threats that exist to our societies. Customs administrations are responsible for the enforcement of the fiscal integrity and security of the movements of goods across these borders. At the same time, Customs administrations are expected to make a contribution to the economic competitiveness of the nation they represent. The increasing amounts of goods that pass their checkpoints require innovative inspection procedures. Automatic detection at border controls plays an important role in the vision of the Customs administration of the Netherlands and the Federal Customs administration of Switzerland.

ACXIS develops automated target recognition (ATR) functions to analyse images issued from X-ray scans of cargo shipments inspected at land, air or sea border crossing points. With the new procedures proposed by the ACXIS project, the Customs officers will carry out the inspection helped by ATR functions available on-demand. They will be able to annotate the results and to share them with other agencies, through a secure system. The X-ray data will be converted into a standardized format, and stored in a database, along with the results of the ATRs and other annotations (Fig. 1). This standardization allows comparisons between scans from X-ray machines of different manufacturers and models. The database is loaded with a large array of reference material, and new scans are continuously integrated.


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