Biotechnology to enhance Aviation Security

Airbus and Koniku Inc. have made a significant step forward in the co-development of a solution for aircraft and airport security operations. The two companies achieved this through extending their research activities to include biological hazard detection capabilities, as well as chemical and explosive threats.

The disruptive biotechnology solution, which was originally focused on the contactless and automated detection, tracking and location of chemicals and explosives on-board aircraft and in airports, is now being adapted in light of the COVID-19 crisis to include the identification of biological hazards.

Based on the power of odor detection and quantification found in nature, the technical solution was developed to meet the rigorous operational regulatory requirements of aircraft and airport security operations.

It uses genetically engineered odorant receptors that produce an alarm signal when they come into contact with the molecular compounds of the hazard or threat that they have been programmed to detect.

Airbus and Koniku entered into a cooperation agreement in 2017. The idea behind was to leverage Airbus’ expertise in sensor integration and knowledge of ground and on-board security operations within the aviation and defense industries, as well as Koniku’s biotechnology know-how for automated and scalable volatile organic compound detection.

Testing is planned for later this year. Airbus says that with this new technology it wants to contribute to the continuous improvement of security in the air transport ecosystem, while increasing operational efficiency and improving passenger experience.

Photo Credit: Airbus

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