Vehicle that can detect radioactive threats among new technology arising from US-Singapore collaboration

From left: Deputy Chief of Mission from the US Embassy in Singapore, Ms Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath, US Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary (Acting) for Science and Technology William Bryan, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam, and Se
From left: Deputy Chief of Mission from the US Embassy in Singapore, Ms Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath, US Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary (Acting) for Science and Technology William Bryan, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam, and Second Minister for Home Affairs Desmond Lee at the opening of the Home Team science and technology exhibition and conference for homeland security. ST PHOTO: SEOW BEI YI

SINGAPORE - Radioactive threats can be displayed on a "real time street view" as this truck moves around the island.

It is the prototype of a radiological multisensor analysis platform system - that Singapore worked with the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop last year.

This is one of many successful collaborations between the Home Team and US DHS, said Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam on Monday (July 10).

He was speaking at the opening of the Home Team science and technology exhibition and conference for homeland security at the Home Team Academy.

This also marks 10 years of cooperation with the US DHS, which has shared its expertise, collaborated in trials, and co-developed capabilities with Singapore.

These technologies are used to protect borders, infrastructure, helping to detect chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) threats, he said.

Besides the vehicle with sensors and 3D-mapping technology, the authorities also tested the radiological analysis system at land and sea checkpoints.

"The system was able to screen passenger vehicles, cargo containers, and conduct searches for threats in urban areas," said Mr Shanmugam.

He added: "It has, in our view, the potential to become an incredibly valuable tool to counter nuclear smuggling and terrorism."

Other capabilities which have since been rolled out in Singapore include a sentinel puffer portal - now deployed at all land and sea checkpoints.

This is a walk-through system that releases puffs of air, dislodging particles on clothing and human bodies, to help detect trace amounts of explosives and narcotics.

Besides needing less manpower, it is less intrusive to travellers, and is effective in detecting even very small amounts, said Mr Shanmugam.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority first deployed these portals in 2012, and suspects are singled out for such checks.

Science and technology can heighten the Home Team's efficiency, said Mr Shanmugam.

One example is the Home Team Laboratory Network, a series of labs at checkpoints here.

They help to detect an "entire spectrum of CBRNE threats", and conduct quick investigations through forensic methods, he added.

Besides enabling Singapore to respond decisively in the event of a terrorist attack, the network can also analyse a range of narcotics, including New Psychoactive Substances, strengthening the country's fight against drugs.

Another example is the Automated Biometric and Behavioural Screening Suite (ABBSS), a customised video analytics system.

The system can conduct real-time facial recognition and search recorded footage on factors such as colour, number plate, shape, and speed of a moving object.

Used at the Woodlands Checkpoint, it has helped to "identify many blacklisted travellers", said Mr Shanmugam.

The laboratory network and ABBSS are among winning projects at the Home Team Science and Technology Excellence Awards, introduced this year.