Evaluation of a bar-code system to detect unaccompanied baggage

Evaluation of a bar-code system to detect unaccompanied baggage

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    Final report
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    The objective of the Unaccompanied Baggage Detection System (UBDS) Project has been to gain field experience with a system designed to identify passengers who check baggage for a flight and subsequently fail to board that flight. In the first phase of the project, various identification techniques including bar-code, magnetic stripe, optical character readers, and micro-wave transponders, were reviewed. Bar-code was selected because of its low cost and because of the off-the-shelf availability of all of the necessary components for a system. During a March, 1986 meeting of airline security officials, the representative of United Airlines volunteered his carrier to host a UBDS demonstration. UAL's station at Green Airport near Providence, R.I. was selected because of its proximity to TSC and its scale of operations which allows collection of a substantial volume of data while incurring costs for only a single gate. Although it was recognized at the start that integration of the UBDS with UAL's Apollo reservations system would provide the most realistic operating environment, the lead-time for such integration was estimated at more than one year, which excluded it from further consideration. Instead a stand-alone system was designed consisting of miniature terminals placed at each ticket counter position linked to bar-code label printers through a micro-computer and concentrator. As each passenger with bags to check appeared at the counter, the agent was supposed to enter the passenger's last name and initial along with the number of bags. This action created a computer record of the passenger together with a sequence number. The latter plus a code for the flight number was automatically printed on bar-code labels, one to be scanned as the passenger boarded the aircraft and the olher(s) for the baggage tags in case it was desired to identify and remove a bag.
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