As of January 1, 2006, every major airport in the world adheres to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) 100% hold baggage screening (HBS) requirements. This means that each piece of luggage destined for civil aircraft must pass a series of security checks before it can be cleared for loading. If a piece of luggage does not clear this screening process, it is considered suspect and emergency procedures are initiated, which can ultimately lead to closure of the airport terminal, cancellation of outbound flights, and the diversion of inbound aircraft. The financial cost in these instances can reach millions of dollars as the entire airport traffic system is disrupted, and occurs whether the package is found to be a real threat, or simply a false alarm.
The Remote Packaging Handling System is designed to address this costly problem by quickly removing suspect baggage from airport terminals without placing personnel in harm's way. Already in use by Quebec City's Jean Lesage International Airport, the RPHS can reduce terminal down time from several hours to less than 30 minutes when a suspect package is found, potentially saving millions of dollars per incident. The system is controlled by Provectus' proprietary ARIS software suite which is also in use by the RCMP, Canadian Space Agency, and other agencies around the world.
When a suspect package is identified, airport security personnel are alerted and emergency procedures are initiated. Typically, existing baggage handling systems are used to load the suspect package into RPHS' dump box. The steel dump box is built with high-strength rollers in the bottom to allow all sizes of checked bags to be safely loaded. While the suspect baggage is being loaded, airport security personnel move their vehicle into place several hundred metres away from the robot and prepare to drive it away from the terminal. The robot and suspect baggage are then remotely driven to a safe drop-off location far away from the terminal building, where the package is dropped-off to await bomb-disposal technicians.
The terminal is re-opened within as little as 30 minutes. Operations have resumed, and the passengers are safe.