ALERT Explores Autonomous Security Systems in ADSA23 Workshop

This spring, the ADSA23 workshop on “Autonomous Security Systems” was held virtually over the course of three sessions (May 4, 11, and 25). In response to COVID-19 protocols, the workshop continued to adhere to a virtual format, bringing together approximately 150 aviation security stakeholders from academia, government, and industry for compelling presentations and engaging conversations around emerging technologies, systems, and processes related to automation.

Members of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology (S&T) Directorate and other aviation security stakeholders facilitated insightful conversations on the workshop’s theme. Specific topics that were addressed and discussed by the ALERT community included: automation in passenger screening, detection of threats, and reduction of false alarms; stakeholder involvement in the design and operation of autonomous systems; automated testing and quality assurance; applications of interoperability; machine learning, and artificial intelligence; and best practices from other fields using autonomous systems. Those who wish to learn more about the topics covered can view and download presentations from ADSA23 and previous ADSA workshops.

The workshop was the 23rd installment of the Advanced Development for Security Applications (ADSA) series, which ALERT has convened since 2009. The series is intended to address research opportunities that may enable the development of next-generation systems and to facilitate collaboration and innovation between researchers from universities, national labs, and the private sector.

“Autonomous, automated, or automatic: essential characteristics of sophisticated systems that use advanced software to decide the best solutions. ADSA23 showed us the full spectrum of applications of computer-assisted decision making, from self-guided vehicles to threat declaration.” said Carey Rappaport, ALERT Deputy Director and ADSA23 speaker.

An important aspect of the ADSA Workshop series is the concept of technology foraging, or the process of identifying technologies, products, and systems applicable to recognized capability gaps. ALERT intentionally seeks out leaders in seemingly unrelated fields to present on their innovations and best practices, so that the ALERT community may obtain new perspectives and knowledge that could be applicable to aviation security. In keeping with this tradition, ADSA23 included presentations from Jay Stanley (American Civil Liberties Union), who addressed privacy and civil liberties considerations in relation to automated security systems, and experts in radiology, Robert Nishikawa (University of Pittsburgh) and Keith Dreyer (Massachusetts General Hospital), who both presented on issues related to artificial intelligence in the medical imaging field. ALERT would like to thank all the speakers and attendees who made ADSA23 a rich and collaborative experience.

ALERT is pleased to announce that the next workshop, ADSA24, will be held in-person on October 5-6. ALERT will also have a virtual option for those who cannot attend in person. The workshop will address “Advancing Partnerships for Enhanced Security” and include presentations and conversations on topics related to establishing and maintaining partnerships; recognizing successful and unsuccessful partnerships; stakeholder perspectives on partnerships; and important considerations around facilitating partnerships, such as biases, conflicts of interest, and legalities. Stakeholders in the ALERT community are encouraged to save the date for this workshop. More event details will be forthcoming.

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