In the fall of 2019, Notre Dame kicked off a multi-year project to research next-generation technology to support efforts to combat and identify border threats. Each year national economies are adversely affected as billions of dollars are lost through human trafficking, drug trafficking, money laundering, identity fraud, and transnational crime.
The research conducted by Notre Dame is supported by Securiport’s Global Innovation Cell. Securiport designs and implements civil aviation security, border management, immigration control, and threat assessment systems around the world. As criminals are becoming more and more sophisticated, and are continuously challenging technologies, systems and solutions that are already in place, what new innovative technology can be created to ensure that the industry is always ahead of the curve?
“We are extremely pleased to be working together with a world-renowned academic institution,” said Leandro Olie, Securiport’s Chief Operating Officer. As we continue to develop our own product lines, it is imperative that we base our technology on hard scientific research when developing our own solutions to combat the latest threats facing the border security authorities.”
Securiport is supporting a project that leverages current biometric and data analysis efforts undertaken in the University’s Computer Vision Research Laboratory (CVRL). The laboratory, established in 2001, now supports the research of four faculty members, several postdoctoral scholars, and more than twenty graduate and undergraduate researchers. Since its establishment, research awards totaling well over $20 million have contributed to the publication of hundreds of articles and the training of dozens of Ph.D. and undergraduate students.
“The Securiport project has allowed the CVRL team to expand its research portfolio into new problem domains that are relevant to border security,” said Patrick Flynn, the Fritz Duda Family Professor of Engineering and Chair of Computer Science and Engineering, who is leading the research team at Notre Dame in collaboration with Kevin Bowyer, Schubmehl-Prein Family Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, and Adam Czajka, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering.
“Our past record of novel research contributions supported by locally collected and carefully curated data sets enabled us to move quickly to set up this project and to pivot creatively when the COVID-19 outbreak changed our circumstances.”
Since the launch of the joint project, researchers at Notre Dame have collected biometric data from consenting human subjects in an interview context for use in image/video analytics research. Data collections began in January 2020 and continued until the University sent students home and halted research activity in March. When the University restarted research operations as part of its general reopening in August, the research team made plans to collect a supplemental data set to address the impact of face masks on this video analysis problem.
“Working with Securiport has been very enjoyable,” noted Flynn. “They are great partners – open with suggestions and feedback, and appreciative of the value of academic collaboration with industry. We’re hoping for a lengthy and productive collaboration that yields many useful contributions to their systems for border security and threat assessment.”