Australian scientists are building a machine learning tool to auto security check travellers

A customs officer boarding a suspected illegal fishing boat off Cape Wessel near Darwin. Australian Customs Service via Getty Images

Scientists are developing a way to automatically run security risk assessments of travellers and cargo at Australia’s air, land and sea borders.

Global information technology company Unisys and Australia’s Data61, the CSIRO’s data innovation research unit, today announced a collaboration to develop an advanced data analytics solution.

The research involves using analytics and machine learning to identify patterns in data from airlines and ports indicating potential risks.

Unisys and Data61 plan to conduct a proof-of-concept at a major transport hub in Asia.

“Most border agencies today rely on human designed rules to identify suspicious people or cargo,” says John Kendall, global border security director, Unisys.

“Working with Data61, we are incorporating machine learning and real-time data analytics to reveal the actual intent of travellers and shippers.

“This will allow border agencies to automate the processing of low risk people and cargo while reserving specialised border security resources for the small percentage of travellers and cargo that present a higher risk profile.”

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