The US Government’s Department of Homeland Security has selected Micro-X (ASX: MX1) to develop its new concept for airport passenger self-screening.
Micro-X was chosen after a competitive process that involved submitting a white paper. The company was then invited to submit full proposals for two programs.
The company’s current work for the UK Government’s Department of Transport also put it in good stead for the US contract, with its miniaturised x-ray screening unit for the UK Government possessing a similar self-service concept for airport checkpoints.
Micro-X anticipates the contracts will be finalised in the March quarter next year, with work to begin soon after.
The company’s chief scientist and chief executive officer of the US subsidiary Dr Brian Gonzales will lead the work programs.
Commenting on the US Homeland Security contracts, Micro-X managing director Peter Rowland said the company was “thrilled” to be selected – claiming it will “hugely accelerate” the company’s entry into the global security market.
“Building on the work we have done for the UK Government we believe our CNT technology is unique in being able to deliver this miniaturised x-ray automated detection functionality for airport security.”
“I’m really proud that Micro-X’s customer-led design approach has also been recognised in being asked to perform the top level system design of the complete check-in portal.”
Mr Rowland added the project will “revolutionise” the customer experience and improve airport security detection worldwide.
Current processes are “manpower-intensive”, and Mr Rowland said the self-service concept would “massively reduce operational costs” and also provide a safer process in a post-COVID world.
“With a potential 8,000 to 12,000 self-service check-in portals in the US alone, this is a significant future market opportunity for Micro-X,” Mr Rowland added.
Self-service baggage scanner
Micro-X’s first proposal involved developing a self-service baggage scanner.
Homeland Security will provide up to US$1.5 million in funding to Micro-X for it to design and manufacture a prototype self-service baggage scanner within 12 months over two stages.
Micro-X plans to use its x-ray technology to fit an array of miniature x-ray tubes into a small scanner unit that can provide high resolution, dual energy, and CT imaging.
The company claims this will be automated and accurately detect explosives and prohibited items.
Additionally, Micro-X has developed dual-energy automated threat detection software for the UK Government that will be used in the current contract for 3D image reconstruction.
Human intervention would only be required to resolve any alarm that is set off.
Micro-X’s second proposal comprised US$2.5 million to design a self-service check in portal.
Under the contract, Micro-X will design the overall security portal system that will incorporate the same x-ray scanner created under the first proposal.
Micro-X will perform overall systems design and head up an international consortium to deliver the integrated design of the self-service portal.
The portal will incorporate functional elements of travel document and identity verification, accessible baggage x-ray screening and body scanning.
A final design review is targeted within 20 months.
The consortium will include Australia-based Elinium Automation and Monash University MADA, a German company and a US-based software company that will provide the platform for unifying data and operations.