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Autonomous mobile freight scanning system
Inspection of freight for dangerous goods and contraband can now be performed using a high-energy autonomous mobile scanning system.
The Driverless Eagle M60 autonomous cargo inspection system has been developed by Rapiscan Systems in conjunction with Mercedes-Benz to provide ports, customs and border control authorities with a flexible means of screening containers and heavy goods vehicles for contraband, weapons, explosives and nuclear materials before reaching the road network.
The X-Ray based inspection system operates on a Mercedes truck platform which has been modified to operate without a driver being present and can be driven remotely by an operator outside the vehicle. An articulated gantry system can be deployed alongside vehicles or containers to inspect the contents anywhere within the port or border compound, thus providing increased flexibility.
The powerful imaging technology uses a 6MV X-ray system is able to penetrate densely packed cargo whilst still being able to detect and identify low-density contraband such as explosives. The different image densities can be represented together on one x-ray image to provide a comprehensive overview of the vehicle contents. Such imaging methodology means that requirements for manual inspections are reduced, thus saving on throughput times.
Once the Eagle M60 has been positioned, two positional sensors are placed to determine the extent of the required scan. The scanner automatically detects the sensors and scans accordingly. In this way, oversized and unusual cargo can be handled as well as standard containers and trucks. The vehicle moves between the sensors with high accuracy with a precision of 25mm from the centre-line.
The autonomous Eagle M60 can be driven between locations in the normal way enabling it to cover more than one port or inspection location. Being driverless in the scanning operation, there are a number of advantages including health and safety, reduction in driver fatigue and improvements in inspection rates.
Commenting on the release of the Driverless Eagle M60, Rapiscan’s President, Ajay Mehra stated that the development of the technology was based on the need to solve increasing customs and border security challenges regarding resources and finances. Such challenges included the usage of qualified HGV drivers around the clock and the elimination of driver error risks both whilst driving and during the critical scanning process.