How PGD is Using AI to Improve Security

News Posted in Aviation News Today

How Punta Gorda Airport is Using Artificial Intelligence to Improve Airport Security

Punta Gorda Airport (PGD) is a Category II Airport with a small operation on the west coast of Florida. Speaking at AAAE’s Aviation Security Summit on Tuesday, PGD Manager of Safety and Security Mike Thames shared why artificial intelligence was implemented at the airport to improve security.

The airport does not have an operations center and does not have 24-hour operations. The airport relied on witness reports to be informed of security violations, which often were delayed and were not always accurate. That then led to a time-consuming investigation, Thames said, and varying enforcement of rules of regulations. To overcome that, Thames said it “made sense to use artificial intelligence to keep security at the airport.”

“Artificial intelligence is at every access point, it puts every door on equal footing,” he explained. “People might try to take advantage of an access point that is underutilized. (Artificial intelligence) catches them.”

Among the other benefits was that the system provides a snapshot of the access control system. “You don’t know what you don’t know,” Thames said. “…Before we implemented artificial intelligence, … there was quite a bit of alarms that we never would have picked up. We still get occasional witness reports and, in many cases, we already cleared those alarms.”

“It is a game changer for us responding to these issues,” he added.

The system will track security violations, such as tailgating at vehicle gates, piggybacking at secure doors, presenting invalid badges, among others. When a violation is detected, the system immediately notifies Thames and includes a video of the alleged violation.

“With this artificial intelligence solution, I get alarms in about 30 seconds or less, sometimes 15 seconds.” Thames said. “It is very quick; it is very sharp. When I get an alarm, I also get the name and contact information for the individual. Rather than try to catch the person, I already have their contact information immediately.” 


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