HK 1167232 A

Automated Clearance System and Method

  FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to clearance systems and, more particularly, to automated clearance systems for controlling passage of persons between areas.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

With global trends for mobility of people between countries, regions and across borders, processing facilities used for processing travelers in airports, cruise terminals and other border crossings are required to process increasing numbers of travelers. In addition, as countries around the world become more integrated and connected in both business and personal aspects, border crossings are becoming part of the daily routine for many people in their commute to their place of work or study.

Similarly access within a defense or security organization or the like may require verification of the identity of personnel moving between a general access area to a secure access area multiple times on a daily basis. Existing manual processes whereby a person reviews a relevant identity document to determine an individual's identity and confirm that the individual is permitted to move between areas requires personnel to be specifically assigned. However, the rate of traffic of people between areas may fluctuate throughout the day, week and month, depending on many factors including transportation schedules, daily schedules and time of the year. As such it can be very difficult to anticipate the number of persons to be processed at a given time, to ensure that an appropriate number of personnel can be roistered to process high volumes of people traffic. This can lead to processing

delays or inefficient allocation of processing staff.

Automated processing systems have been introduced in an effort to address these problems. However, these automated systems are prone to failures and are difficult to modify and maintain, often being located in public areas where access conditions are difficult. Typically, existing automated processing systems are formed as one unit, and if a failure occurs, must be repaired or upgraded off site. Repair or replacement of one automated processing system can also require closure of adjacent processing systems, where many of the processing systems are used side by side. Furthermore, these automated processing systems are typically configured to process traffic in one direction only such that there are dedicated 'arrival' and 'departure' processing systems.

In addition, existing automated systems may not determine where a 'tailgating' condition occurs, where a second person follows the first through the processing system in very close proximity, such that the system detects only one person. Existing systems may be unduly sensitive and trigger false tailgating alarms or alternatively lack sufficient sensitivity to avoid closing of gates or doors on persons to be processed.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

        Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide the public with a system which can reduce or substantially ameliorate one or more of the above deficiencies.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

         In a first aspect the present invention provides an elongate barrier structure for use with an adjacent a further elongate barrier structure in an automated clearance system for authorizing the passage of a person from a first area to a second area via a passageway defined between said elongate barrier structure and said further elongate barrier structure, said elongate barrier structure comprising:

        a first gate portion located towards a first end of the elongate barrier structure and a second gate portion located towards a second end of the frame portion, the first gate portion being moveable from an open position for allowing passage of the person from said first area towards said second area, and the first gate portion being moveable to a closed position to prevent passage of the person there through,

        an identification data acquisition portion located towards the first end of the elongate barrier structure, the identification data acquisition portion for acquiring identification data from an information carrier article indicative of the identity of the person, such that upon acquisition of the identification data said first gate moves

towards the open position so as to allow passage of the person through said first gate,

        a biometric data acquisition portion located between said first gate and said second gate for acquisition of biometric data from said person, such that upon confirmation of the identity of the person by verification of the biometric data against the identification data, the second gate moves to an open position to allow passage

of the person through said second gate, and

         a frame portion supporting the biometric data acquisition portion, identification data acquisition portion, first gate portion and second gate portion,

       wherein upon disengagement of the identification data acquisition portion or disengagement of the biometric data acquisition portion from the elongate barrier structure, the frame portion defines one wall of the passageway and prevents egress of the person there through.

 

The elongate barrier structure preferably has at least one of the first gate portion or the second gate portion is disengageable from the elongate barrier structure.

The elongate barrier structure may further include a second identification data acquisition portion for acquiring identification data from the person, the second data acquisition portion being located towards the second end of the elongate barrier structure such that the acquisition of said data is configured to move the second gate to an open position for passage of the person through the second gate to allow passage of a person from the second area to the first area through said passageway.

The elongate barrier structure may further include a second biometric data acquisition unit located between said first gate portion and said second gate portion for acquisition of biometric data from the person, such that upon verification of acquired biometric data and acquired identification data, the first gate portion is moveable to allow passage of the person through said first gate portion to said first area.

Preferably the biometric data acquisition portion or an identification data acquisition portion is disengage able from the elongate barrier structure for configuration of the system at an installed location.

The biometric data acquisition portion may be configured to read data selected from the group including one or more the group comprising a fingerprint, facial recognition, a voiceprint, EEG (brainwaves) trace signature, retinal eye scan, iris scan, hand geometry, palm vein pattern, signature creation speed, sign creation speed or signature. In particular, the biometric data acquisition data portion may be configured for reading a thumb print.

The identification data acquisition portion may be configured for acquiring identification data from an information carrier article comprising a document selected from the group including a travel document, identification card, passport and driver's licence.

Preferably, the identification data acquisition portion is configured to detect if the document is a legitimate identification document.

The first gate portion of the elongate harder structure may be formed by a first gate member laterally extending from the elongate barrier structure in a direction of towards the adjacent elongate barrier structure and a second gate member laterally extending from the adjacent elongate barrier structure in a direction of towards the

elongate barrier structure.

The second gate portion may be formed by a first gate member laterally extending from the elongate barrier structure in a direction of towards the adjacent elongate barrier structure and a second gate member laterally extending from the adjacent elongate barrier structure in a direction of towards the elongate barrier structure.

The gate members of the elongate barrier structure may be moveable between the open position and the closed position by actuation of a brushless motor.

In a further aspect of the invention there is provided an automated clearance system for authorizing the passage of a person from a first area to a second area via a passageway, the system comprising:

    an elongate barrier structure and an adjacent elongate barrier structure  forming a passageway there between and preventing egress of the person from said passageway, the passageway extending from said first area to said second area, the elongate barrier structure including a first gate portion located towards a first end of the elongate barrier structure and a second gate portion located towards a second end of the elongate barrier structure, the first gate portion being moveable from an open position for allowing passage of the person from said first area towards said second area, and the first gate portion being moveable to a closed position to prevent passage of the person

there through,

        an identification data acquisition portion located towards the first end of the elongate barrier structure, the identification data acquisition portion for acquiring identification data from an information carrier article indicative of the identity of the person, such that upon acquisition of the identification data said first gate moves towards the open position so as to allow passage of the person through said first gate,

        a biometric data acquisition portion located between said first gate and said second gate for acquisition of biometric data from said person, such that upon confirmation of the identity of the person by verification of the biometric data against the identification data, the second gate moves to an open position to allow passage of the person through said second gate, and

      a frame portion supporting the biometric data acquisition portion, identification data acquisition portion, first gate portion and second gate portion,

      wherein upon disengagement of the identification data acquisition portion or of the biometric data acquisition portion from the elongate barrier structure, the frame portion maintains the passageway and prevents egress of the person from said passageway.

In yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided a computerized detection system for detecting the presence of one or more persons in the passageway of an automated clearance system for authorizing the passage of a person from a first area to a second area via said passageway, said automated clearance system including a first elongate barrier structure and a second elongate barrier structure forming the passageway therebetween, the automated clearance system being, said detection system comprising:

        a plurality of lower transmission units extending along and positioned adjacent one of the elongate barrier structure and a plurality of corresponding lower receiving units extending along and positioned adjacent the other elongate barrier structure, wherein each of said lower transmission units are spaced apart from each other at predetermined intervals along at least a portion of one side of the passageway at a first height and each of said plurality of corresponding lower receiver units are spaced apart from each other at predetermined intervals along at least a portion of one side of the passageway at a first height,

        a plurality of upper transmission units extending along and positioned adjacent one of the elongate barrier structure and a plurality of corresponding upper receiver units extending along and positioned adjacent the other elongate barrier structure, wherein each of said upper transmission units are spaced apart from each other at predetermined intervals along at least a portion of one side of the passageway at a second height and each of said plurality of corresponding upper receiver units are spaced apart from each other at predetermined intervals along at least a portion of one side of the passageway at a second height,

       wherein each of said transmission units provides a discrete signal transmission towards each of said corresponding receiver units arranged at corresponding positions at the other side of said passageway, and wherein each transmission unit is spaced apart from an adjacent transmission unit such that upon passage of a person through the passageway three or more discrete signals from adjacent transmission units are obscured; and

a microprocessor for receiving signals from the receiving units, wherein upon detection of three or more discrete signals from adjacent transmission units being obscured, the processor detects the presence of a person within said passageway.

The computerized detection system may be configured such that upon the detection that two or more sets of three or more discrete signals from adjacent transmission units are obscured, the microprocessor detects the presence of two or more persons in the passageway. Alternatively, the computerized detection system may be configured such that upon detection that two or more sets of three or more discrete signals from adjacent transmission units are obscured, and the total number of obscured signals exceeds a pre-determined threshold proportion of the overall transmission signals, the microprocessor detects the presence of two or more persons in the passageway.

Preferably the transmission units of the computerized detection system are spaced apart from adjacent transmission units by a distance of in the range of from 30mm to 80mm, and may be spaced apart from adjacent transmission units by a distance of in the range of about 50mm.

The transmission units of the computerized detection system may be installed at a first height is in a range of from 300mm to 700mm, and at a second height in a range of from 750mm to 1250mm from the ground surface. In particular, the first installed height may be about 500mm, and the second installed height may be about 1000mm from the ground surface.

The computerized detection system may preferably include a total number of transmission units in the upper and lower plurality of transmission units is in the range of about from between 25-50. Preferably, in one embodiment the number of transmission units in the upper plurality of transmission units may be 48 and the number in the lower plurality of transmission units may be 32.

In yet a further aspect of the present invention there is provided a computerized detection system for detecting the presence of one or more persons in the passageway of an automated clearance system for authorizing the passage of a person from a first area to a second area via said passageway, said automated clearance system including a first elongate barrier structure and a second elongate barrier structure forming the passageway there between, the automated clearance system being, said detection system comprising:

      a plurality of lower transmission units extending along and positioned adjacent one of the elongate barrier structure and a plurality of corresponding lower receiving units extending along and positioned adjacent the other elongate barrier structure, wherein each of said lower transmission units are spaced apart from each other at predetermined intervals along at least a portion of one side of the passageway at a first height and each of said plurality of corresponding lower receiver units are spaced apart from each other at predetermined intervals along at least a portion of one side of the passageway at a first height,

        a plurality of upper transmission units extending along and positioned adjacent one of the elongate barrier structure and a plurality of corresponding upper receiver units extending along and positioned adjacent the other elongate barrier structure, wherein each of said upper transmission units are spaced apart from each other at predetermined intervals along at least a portion of one side of the passageway at a second height and each of said plurality of corresponding upper receiver units are spaced apart from each other at predetermined intervals along at least a portion of one side of the passageway at a second height,

       wherein each of said transmission units provides a discrete signal transmission towards each of said corresponding receiver units arranged at corresponding positions at the other side of said passageway, and

       wherein each transmission unit is spaced apart from an adjacent transmission unit such that upon passage of a first person through the passageway the number of signals from transmission units which are obscured is below a predetermined threshold, and upon passage of a further person through the passageway, the number of obscured transmission signals exceeds said predetermined threshold, and

        a microprocessor for receiving signals from the receiving units, wherein the determination of the number of obscured transmission signals is weighted, according to predetermined ratios, and if such weightings exceed a further predetermined threshold, the presence of a further person within said passageway is detected.

The computerised detection system preferably includes a microprocessor configured to determine the total number of obscured signals for all transmission units in the plurality of upper transmission units and the plurality of lower transmission units.

The computerised detection system may include a microprocessor configured to determine the total number of obscured signals for a predetermined number of transmission units selected from the plurality of upper transmission units and the plurality of lower transmission units.

Preferably, the microprocessor may be configured to determine the total number of obscured signals for a predetermined number of transmission units in the plurality of upper transmission units and the plurality of lower transmission units, wherein the predetermined number of transmission units corresponds to the last 20 signals

received.

Alternatively, the microprocessor may be configured to determine the total number of occurrences of obscured signals received from a pre-determined number of transmission units of the lower plurality of transmission units.

Alternatively, the microprocessor may be configured to determine the total number of occurrences of a plurality of adjacent obscured signals received from a predetermined number of transmission units of the lower plurality of transmission units.

Preferably, the computerised detection system may determine the total number of occurrences of a plurality of adjacent obscured signals received from a 20 transmission units of the lower plurality of transmission units and the plurality of adjacent obscured signals is two adjacent discrete signals.

The computerised detection system may be configured such that a determination of the total number of signals received determines the weightings applied to the total number of occurrences of obscured signals detected by the microprocessor.

Preferably, where the total number of signals detected is less than or equal to 50, the predetermined ratios are weighted at about 75% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 25, a weighting of about 25% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 26, and weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 28, and a weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 29 is applied to determine a weighted sum of obscured signals detected. Preferably, where the weighted sum exceeds a predetermined amount, the processor detects the presence

of a further person within said passageway.

Alternatively, where the total number of signals detected is less than or equal to 100, the predetermined ratios are weighted at about 65% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 25, a weighting of about 35% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 26, and weighting of about 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 28, and a weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 29 is applied to determine a weighted sum of obscured signals detected. Preferably, if the weighted sum exceeds a predetermined amount, the processor detects the presence of a

further person within said passageway.

Alternatively, if the total number of signals detected is more than 100, the predetermined ratios are weighted at about 50% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 25, a weighting of 50% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 26, and weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 28, and a weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 29 is applied to determine a weighted sum of obscured signals detected. Preferably, where the weighted sum exceeds a predetermined amount, the processor detects the presence of a further person within said passageway~

In still a further aspect of the present invention there is provided a computerized detection method for detecting the presence of one or more persons in the passageway of the automated clearance system said methods including the steps of:

        (i)    receiving signals from the plurality of transmission units;

        (ii)   determining the number of discrete signals from adjacent transmission units which are obscured; and

       (iii)   determining the presence of a person within said passageway upon detection of three or more discrete signals from adjacent transmission units being obscured.

Optionally the detection method further includes determining if two or more sets of three or more discrete signals from adjacent transmission units are obscured.

Alternatively, the computerized detection method further includes the step of

detection if two or more sets of three or more discrete signals from adjacent transmission units are obscured

     determining if the total number of obscured signals exceeds a predetermined threshold proportion of the overall transmission signals, and

      determining the presence of two or more persons in the passageway if two or more sets of three or more discrete signals from adjacent transmission units are obscured and if the total number of obscured signals exceeds the pre-determined threshold proportion of the overall transmission signals.

In yet a further aspect of the present invention, there is provided a computerized detection method for detecting the presence of one or more persons in the passageway of the automated clearance system according to claim 15, said methods including the steps of:

        (i)    receiving signals from the plurality of transmission units;

        (ii)   determining the number of discrete signals from transmission units which are obscured;

        (iii)  providing a weighting to the number of obscured transmission signals according to predetermined ratios,

        (iv)  determining if the weighted number of obscured transmission signals exceed a further predetermined threshold, and

        (v)   determining the presence of a further person within said passageway if the weighted number of obscured transmission signals exceed the further predetermined threshold.

Optionally the detection method further includes the step of determining the total number of obscured signals.

Preferably, the computerized detection method, further includes the step of determining if total number of obscured signals for a predetermined number of signals exceeds a predetermined threshold amount. Advantageously, the predetermined number of signals corresponds to the most recent 20 signals received.

Optionally, in the computerized detection method, the signals of the pre-determined number of signals are generated from transmission units of the lower plurality of transmission units.

Preferably, the obscured signals are counted if detected from adjacent transmission units.

The computerized detection method may be configured such that the determination of the total number of signals received determines the weightings applied to the total number of occurrences of obscured signals detected by the microprocessor.

Preferably the computerized detection method is configured such that wherein upon the total number of signals received being less than about 50, the predetermined ratios are weighted at about 75% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claims 43 or 44, a weighting of about 25% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 45, and weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 46, and a weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 47 is applied to

determine a weighted sum of obscured signals detected. Where the weighted sum exceeds a predetermined amount, the presence of a further person within said passageway may be detected.

The computerized detection method may be configured such that upon the total number of signals received is in the range from 50 to 100, the predetermined ratios are weighted at about 65% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claims 43 or 44, a weighting of about 35% to the total number of occurrences

detected according to claim 45, and weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 46, and a weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 47 is applied to determine a weighted sum of obscured signals detected. Preferably, where the weighted sum exceeds a predetermined amount, the presence of a further person within said passageway is detected.

The computerized detection method may be configured such that upon the total number of signals received is greater than about 100, the predetermined ratios are weighted at about 50% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claims 43 or 44, a weighting of about 50% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 45, and weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 48, and a weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 47 is applied to determine a weighted sum of obscured signals detected. Preferably, if the weighted sum exceeds a predetermined amount, the presence of a further person within said passageway is detected,

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

        Preferred embodiments of the present invention will be explained in further detail below by way of examples and with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:-

        Figure 1 shows an exemplary perspective view of an automated clearance system according to the present invention;

        Figure 2a is an exemplary perspective view of one of the barrier structures from the clearance system depicted in Figure 1;

        Figure 2b is a front view of the barrier structure shown in Figure 2a;

        Figure 2c is a top view of the barrier structure shown in Figure 2a;

        Figure 2d is a side view of the barrier structure shown in Figure 2a;

        Figure 2e is an exploded view of an exemplary strip containing transmission/receiving units of the present invention.

        Figure 2f is an exemplary arrangement showing how the upper strips may be mounted in a location.

        Figure 2g is an exemplary arrangement showing how the lower strips may be mounted in a location.

         Figure 3a is a perspective view of an exemplary identification data device portion for use in the clearance system depicted in Figure 1.

         Figure 3b is a side view of the exemplary identification data device portion of Figure 3a.

  Figure 3c is a front view of the exemplary identification data device portion of Figure 3a.

        Figure 3d is a top view of the exemplary identification data device portion of Figure 3a.

        Figure 4a is a perspective view of an exemplary biometric data acquisition device portion suitable for use in the clearance system of Figure 1.

        Figure 4b is a side view of an exemplary biometric data acquisition device portion of Figure 4a.

        Figure 4c is a front view of an exemplary biometric data acquisition device portion of Figure 4a.

        Figure 4d is a top view of an exemplary biometric data acquisition device portion of Figure 4a,

        Figure 5 is a flowchart depicting the typical stages in an exemplary embodiment of a clearance system;

        Figure 6a is an exemplary view of the barrier structure of Figure 1 in an installed location having all biometric data acquisition devices and identification data devices removed for servicing.

        Figure 6b is an exemplary view of the barrier structure of Figure 1 in an installed location having one biometric data acquisition device and one identification data device removed for servicing.

        Figures 7a - Figures 71 show a number of exemplary scenarios where more than one person may be detected as present in the clearance system,

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

        Referring to Figures 1 there is shown an exemplary embodiment of a left barrier structure 10, a passageway 20 and an exemplary right barrier structure 30, according to the present invention in use in an automated clearance system.  The left barrier structure 10 and fight barrier structure 30 together form the walls of the passageway 20 which may be used by an authorised person to travel from a first area to a second area.

        In the depicted embodiment, the automated clearance system is configured to authorize the movement of a person in the direction marked by the arrow A.

Additionally, the exemplary automated clearance system depicted is also configured such that a person may be authorised to proceed in the direction marked B, as is discussed further in more detail. It would be appreciated by a person skilled in the art that the elongate barrier structures, systems and methods of the present invention are also appropriate for use where only one direction of travel is permitted without departing from the scope of the present invention.

        Referring to Figures 2a to 2d there is shown in more detail a barrier structure according to an aspect of the present invention. As would be appreciated the barrier structure can define together with adjacent barrier structures on both of the left side and right hand side a passageway on either side for the person to pass through.

(either left barrier structure 10 or right barrier structure 30 of Figure I). Alternatively, the barrier structure 30 shown may define one side only of one passageway, in conjunction with an adjacent barrier structure, for example if only one passageway is required or in the end position of a plurality of passageways. Referring to the Figures

2a to 2d, the barrier structure defines one wall of two passageways marked C, D, these two passageways being formed when adjacent barrier structures to the depicted barrier structure are present.

The barrier structure 30 depicted includes an identification data capture device 40 located at a first end of the barrier structure 30. The identification data capture device 40 is configured to capture identification information from a person as is described with reference to Figures 3a- 3d in more detail. It would be appreciated that the identification data capture device could be located towards the first end of the frame of the barrier structure without affecting the scope of the present invention, rather than at the first end of the frame as depicted in the Figure.

        The barrier structure 30 also includes a first gate portion 50, which in the embodiment depicted includes two laterally extending door members 52, 54. As would be appreciated by a person skilled in the art, and in the embodiment shown in Figure 1, one door member 52 extends from one side of the barrier structure 30, and the other door member 54 extends from the other side of the barrier structure 30 such that when two barrier structures are adjacent, the door members together define a gate across the passageway 20. Advantageously, two brushless motors (not shown) may be used for each door member to increase the longevity of the gate portion; brushless motors may used to move each door member between the open and closed positions. Accordingly, in the embodiment depicted there are four brushless motors utilized.

        As would be appreciated by a person skilled in the art, the gate portion could also be formed by a single hinged gate portion, which can be moved by one or more motors between open and closed positions (not shown) without departing from the present invention.

         As depicted in the Figures 2a to Figures 2d there is aisc located two biometric data acquisition devices 60, 80 for the acquisition of biometric data from a person.

Although two such devices are depicted, it would be appreciated that the inclusion of two devices expedite speed of processing by the clearance system only, and the embodiment depicted would also function with the inclusion of only one biometric data acquisition device. If the clearance system is configured so as permit travel of a person in one direction only, and does not need to be configured so as to permit travel in alternative directions, then a person skilled in the art would appreciate that only one biometric data acquisition device may only be included without departing from the present invention. The biometric data acquisition devices are disengage able from the barrier structure 30 once it has been installed, to allow for maintenance and also servicing if required.

        The biometric data acquisition devices are discussed in more detail in relation to Figure 4a to Figure 4d.

        As shown in the Figure 2a to Figure 2d, a transparent glass panel 70 spans the distance between the two biometric data acquisition units 60,80, although it would be appreciated that alternative arrangements would also be possible. The glass panel 70 assists for visibility to a monitoring officer of the activity of a person inside the passageway between the gates. If the channels are monitored remotely for example by using a camera, the panel may alternatively be made from opaque materials such as wood or plastic. Accordingly, the panel 70 confines the person inside the passageway, and prevents the person from moving laterally out of the passageway, constraining movement to substantially only forward or reverse directions.

        As shown in Figure 2a to Figure 2d there is provided a second gate portion 90, which also includes door members 92 and door members 94 which extend laterally from the barrier structure 30. Similarly as with the first door portion 40, in the embodiment depicted the door member 92 and the door member 94 together with the door member of adjacent barrier structures (not shown in Figure 2a to Figure 2d) form the second gate portion 90. Similarly, as with the first gate portion (although not shown in the Figures), a single gate portion may be utilized which may be hingedly attached to the barrier structure.

        Accordingly, the first gate portion 50, panel 70 and second gate portion 90 of barrier structure together with corresponding portions of the adjacent barrier structure define a passageway, which can be selectively opened and closed by actuation of the gate portions for processing of a person traveling through the clearance system.

        The gate portion 50, 70 can be disengaged from the barrier structure 30, once the barrier structure has been installed, to allow for maintenance and also servicing if required. As the gate portions block the passageway between the first area and second area, it would be appreciated that however if the first gate portion and second gate portion were removed some other constraint such as a physical barrier may be included if such maintenance is being performed.

        A second identification data capture device 100 can be located towards the end of the frame of the barrier structure 30 for allowing the passageway to be utilized for travel in two directions. A clearance system as depicted may be configured so as to provide processing of people moving from a first area to a second area, in which case the second identification data capture device may not be utilised. However, depending on the number of people moving in the respective directions, it may be necessary to activate the second identification data capture device 100 to enable processing of people moving from the second area to the first area. The second identification data capture device 100 is also disengage able from the frame of the barrier structure 30 once it has been installed, to allow for maintenance and also servicing if required. It would be appreciated that the identification data capture device could be located towards the second end of the frame of the barrier structure without affecting the scope of the present invention, rather than at the second end of the frame as depicted in the Figure.

    In order to detect the status of the passageway, including whether one or more persons is in the passageway, a system for monitoring the passageway may be installed. In the depicted embodiment of the present invention there is included a plurality of transmission units which are configured to emit signals in the direction of corresponding receiving units. The signals emitted may be photoelectric beams emitted by the transmission units, and which are received by corresponding receiving units.

        Alternatively other signals such as laser beams, RF signals etc may be emitted and used to detect the presence of a person inside the clearance system, as well as ensuring that no more than one person is in an operational passageway at the one time. However, as is known to a person skilled in the art, if laser beams were

utilized, such laser beams would be more precise however the intensity of the light must be managed to minimize safety concerns. Radio frequency beams may also be utilized however the accuracy of such detection methods need to be carefully adjusted to specific environments.

        Alternatively, image based image detection technology may be utilized to determine the occupancy status of the passageway. In such arrangements, a video camera would be placed in a strategic location of passageway and the video footage  would be analyzed with image recognition software that would identify the number of persons inside the passageway.

        In a further alternative, heat based thermal detectors could be utilized to determine the number of heat sources with. However, it is necessary to ensure that the number of heat sources within a small distance (30cra) can be determined, and more than mere identity of the location of the heat source can be determined, and a method of processing or rules ara implemented to ensure that hot drinks are not taken by persons passing through the passageway.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, RF frequency transmission units may be utilized. The transmission units/receiving units can be included at a number of heights along the barrier structures which form the walls of the passageway. In this way, the passage of a person along the passageway can be monitored based upon the obstructed signals, to determine if the pattern of obstructed signals meets the expected patterns as the person moves along the passageway. It is also possible using these transmission and receiving units to monitor the status of the passageway, for example to determine if there is a person in the channel when there should not be (e.g. when the channel is closed) and for safety purposes to ensure that the door portion does not close on the person. The operation of the transmission and receiving units is discussed in more detail in relation to Figure 7 below.

        Advantageously, in the embodiment of the present invention the transmission and receiving units may be spaced apart in the range of between 30-80mm, and in the embodiment shown by 50mm. However, as is appreciated reduced spacing in turn leads to fewer sensors along a certain area, which in turn leads to decreased sensitivity. This is a deficiency associated with prior art automated travel clearance channels where the spacing of the transmission and receiving units is approximately 100mm.

        In the embodiment shown, for a passageway with a door to door length of approximately 1700mm there is included a total of 80 pairs of transmission and receiving units, with 32 units included in the units located at an upper height, and 48 units at a lower height, each unit spaced at 50mm apart.

        In the embodiment shown, the transmission units and the receiving units have been included at two heights, 500mm and 1000m. Alternative heights for the transmission and corresponding receiving units may be utilised without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, the height of the first row may be selected to be between 300mm to 700mm, while the second height could be selected to lie between 750mm to 1250mm.

        The transmission and receiving units may conveniently be formed as strips, with each strip conveniently containing 8 transmitting/receiving units, and these strips can be attached in such a way as to provide information of the presence of one or more persons in the passageway.

        Exemplary mounting arrangements for the strips are shown in Figures 2e to 2g. As shown, a metal cover 110 is mounted over a plastic cover 112 to protect the strips 11,4 118 and 118 of transmission/receiving units 120 which have been included. The strips 116 and 118 are connected by an interconnection cable 122 for continuous electrical communication. The assembly may be mounted on a base mount 124 as shown for attachment to the frame of the barrier structure for monitoring of the occupancy status of the passageway.. An exemplary arrangement is shown in Figure 2f, 2f where the upper and lower beams are mounted in housings as shown. It would be appreciated by a persons skilled in the art that a variety of mounting arrangements could be utilized and further or additional arrangements such as fixation brackets, fixation techniques.

         Figures 3a- 3e show an exemplary embodiment of the identification data capture device 40 of the embodiment of the present invention of Figure 1, shown disengaged from the barrier structure 30. The device 40 shown includes a smart card reader 42, which is configured for acquisition of identification data from the smart card which is presented by a person wishing to obtain clearance. It would be appreciated that other reader devices, such as optical scanners or the like may be used to acquire identification data from an information carrier such as a smart card, passport, drivers license, RFID or other identification document. There is also shown a LCD screen 44 for displaying greeting and instruction messages and a directional arrow 46 for indicating active status and direction of travel for the channel.

        Figures 4a -4e show an exemplary embodiment of the biometric data acquisition device 60 of the embodiment of the present invention disengaged from the barrier structure shown in Figure 1. The device 60 shown includes a LCD screen 62 for display of status messages and instructions to a person, fingerprint scanner 64, and an exemplary RFID reader 66. The RFID reader may be utilized to read additional information from an RFID card, which may also contain additional security information, personal details or such to provide a further level of identification or status information associated with the person.

        The fingerprint scanner 64 is exemplary only and a person skilled in the art would appreciate that other biometric data acquisition devices may also be utilized, depending upon the biometric data that is to be provided by the person. Devices configured for obtaining biometric data including a fingerprint, facial recognition, a voiceprint, EEG (brainwaves) trace signature, retinal eye scan, iris scan, hand geometry, palm vein pattern, signature creation speed, sign creation speed or signature or other biometric data of a person may be utilized instead of the fingerprint scanner depicted.

        A printer device 68 is also provided for printing labels/error codes, or additional information such as length of stay for inclusion in a travel document.

Exemplary printer configurations of suitable thermal printers may include any of the following or other similar printer types.

    ~  EPSON Thermal Printer Mechanism -- Model: M-T522AF

    ~  EPSON Thermal Printer Control board -- Model: BA-T500U-511

    ~  EPSON Thermal Printer Connector Cable Unit -- Model: DC-TS00

~  EPSON PS-180 Power Supply - Model: PS-180

        Referring to Figure 5, there is provided a typical process flowchart for the operation of the automated travel clearance embodiment depicted in Figure 1.

        As shown at step 200, a person provides the first identification data capture device 40 with a document or some other information carrier which contains identification information. As is known in the art, the carrier device may be a passport, driver's license, Smart Card, Identification Card, RFID card, access card or similar identification data carrier, which contains unique identification data. This information may be commonly used in the country of the first area to identify citizens as a national identification card, or may simply be an access card specific for obtaining access to the second area. The system can be configured to detect if the document is a legitimate document, preventing access to the automated travel clearance system if the document is not legitimate.

        Next, at step 202, based upon the identification data, the immigration/access records for the individual associated with the identification data may be accessed from a database. An assessment is made as to whether the person is allowed to use the automated travel clearance system. In order to use the automated clearance system, it may be necessary for the holder of the identification card to pre-register before use at an appropriate authority. The registration process may include allowing access to the automated travel clearance channel upon satisfactory identification and provision of biometric data such as a fingerprint, facial recognition, a voiceprint, EEG (brainwaves) trace signature, retinal eye scan, iris scan, hand geometry, palm vein pattern, signature creation speed, sign creation speed or signature or some other biometric data unique to the person.

As shown at 204, if the person has not pre-registered to use the automated clearance system, or if the identification data is not recognized, the person will not be permitted to use the automated travel clearance system.

        As shown at step 206, assuming that the person has provided the identification data and is accepted to use the automated travel clearance system, the biometric data associated with the identification data is retrieved for subsequent use.

        Next, at step 208, based upon the detected state of the passageway, a decision is made as to whether it is safe to open the entry doors for use of the automated travel clearance system. For example, if the transmission units and corresponding receiving units are Photoelectric sensors and detect that the passageway is obstructed, the entry doors will not be activated to move to an open position to allow the person to move through the entry doors. The entry doors are then opened at step 210 to allow the person to move through the entry doors.

        Once the person has passed beyond the entry doors, based upon the detected location of the person in the passageway, a determination is made by the system at step 212 as to whether it is safe to shut the doors. In the embodiment depicted, this decision is made by detecting using the transmission units and corresponding receiving units that the person is not proximate the entry doors in a manner known in the art.

        As shown at step 214, the entry doors are then shut, and the person is between the entry doors and exit doors in the passageway between the barrier structures. Once inside this location, the person is prevented from exiting laterally by the barrier structures, and may only exit through the exit doors upon successful biometric authentication, or manual override of the system by an authorized Officer overseeing a multiple automated channels.

As shown at step 216, the person in the passageway provides biometric data to a biometric data acquisition device that is positioned between the entry doors and exit doors. As noted above, the biometric data provided may be a fingerprint, facial recognition, a voiceprint, EEG (brainwaves) trace signature, retinal eye scan, iris scan, hand geometry, palm vein pattern, signature creation speed, sign creation speed or signature or some other biometric data unique to the person.

        At step 218, a determination is made as to whether the biometric data matches the biometric data associated with the identification data in the pre-registration process. If there is no match between the biometric data acquired and the biometric data associated with the identification data provided to the data acquisition device 50, an officer is alerted to handle this clearance (step 220).

      If the biometric data provided by the person in the passageway is verified, then at step 222 a determination is made as to whether the verification is appropriate.

The system considers multiple factors including whether the authentication of the identity of the person has been appropriately verified, no tailgating is detected (additional persons present in the passageway at the time of verification) and that clearance for entry into the second area is permitted. Additional factors may also be considered by the system depending upon whatever access control restrictions may be in place.

      If this evaluation is not successful, an officer supervising travel clearance system may be requested to handle the clearance of the person in step 220. In this way, the system is configured to retain a person who may not be authorized to move from the first area to the second area for subsequent manual processing (including

detention) if necessary.

     Assuming that the verification has been evaluated as appropriate, and all other conditions are met, the system determines at step 224 as to whether it is safe to open the exit doors to allow the person to pass through the exit doors and beyond to the second area, considering similar safety considerations as outlined above.

        Assuming that the necessary safety conditions have been satisfied, and then the exit doors are opened at step 226, to allow the person to pass through the exit doors.

        Once the person has passed through the exit doors, and the system has determined that the passageway is clear and it is safe to shut the exit doors (step228) the exit doors shut at step 230.

        The system is then able to process the clearance of the next person for passage from a first area to a second area.

        It would be appreciated by a person skilled in the art that the system shown, having identification data acquisition devices at both sides is configured such that it is able to process clearance of persons passing from the first area to the second area and from the second area to the first area. One or optionally two biometric data acquisition devices may be included in the passageway between the entry doors and exit doors to acquire biometric data from the person when they are present in the system.

        Referring to Figure 6a, the barrier structure of Figure 1 is shown in an installed location having all biometric data acquisition device and the identification data device removed for servicing. It can be seen that the gaps remaining are sized so as to be too small for a person to fit there through. As such, the egress of a person through the barrier structure is prevented even when certain portions of the structure are removed, as is necessary for maintenance and servicing.

        As shown in Figure 6b, despite the removal from channel D of the second biometric data acquisition unit 80, the operation of adjacent passageway C would be able to continue to function. This means that the operation of only one passageway of the automated clearance system is affected, and the failure does not affect

adjacent passageways.

        Referring to Figures 7a-I, there are shown a number of 'tailgating' scenarios where more than one person enters into the automated travel clearance system through the entry doors.

        In order to provide automated clearance, it is necessary to monitor the passageway to ensure that only one person is authorised to pass through the channel for each identification data provided. If multiple people enter into the automated clearance system, it would be appreciated that this may lead to inaccurate entry or exit records for people travelling between the first and second areas. This may allow prohibited persons to move between areas for which they are not authorised, compromising the integrity of the travel clearance system.

        In addition, it is imporLant that the first and second gate portions do not hit a person moving along a passageway when the gate portions are moving between open and closed positions. Thus, from a safety perspective it is important for the clearance system to be able to determine the presence and location of a person in the system.

        Finally, it is also important that the automated clearance system can monitor the presence or absence of a person (or item such as luggage) in the passageway, to ensure that if it is expected that the passageway will not be occupied that there is no intrusion into the passageway. That is, it is necessary for the barrier structures to be able to detect intrusion into the passageway between the two barrier structures.

        As noted above, the presence or absence of a person in the passageway may be monitored by a system which includes a multiple transmission units and receiving units on at least two heights along the passageway, which are spaced apart by a distance of approximately 5cra in the embodiment depicted. The transmission units may be configured to emit signals constantly or may cycle on and off such that the signals progress down the passageway in the direction of travel

        Emission of the signals may be triggered once the first door portion has opened and may continue until the second door portion is closed, or the signals may be emitted while both doors are closed for intrusion detection.

        As such, monitoring of the status of the travel clearance channel may be performed. Processing of the information received from obscured signals of the transmission units can be performed by a microprocessor according to a variety of algorithms, which are discussed in more detail below. The outcome of the determination by the microprocessor that tailgating or other error condition has occurred is to initiate an alert signal to attract the attention of the Officer supervising the automated travel clearance system.

        Referring to Figure 7a there is shown two normal size persons touching and walking together front and back. In this tailgating scenario where more than one person is present in the passageway, the signals from the transmission units which are obscured could be attributed to a larger person or a lady having a long flowing dress. Accordingly, depending upon the sensitivity required, an alert signal may be issued by the microprocessor.

        Referring to Figure 7b, there is shown two slim persons touching and walking together in a front to back arrangement. This may be more borderline detection scenario than that depicted in Figure 7a and it depends upon the definition and number of signals obstructed by the two adjacent persons.

Referring to Figure 7c, there is shown two adults progressing along the passage way. The first adult is walking in the upright position, while the second adult is walking or crawling along the ground surface. The detection by the transmission signals would be similar to that experience of one adult and one luggage.

        Referring to Figure 7d, there is shown two adults walking in a side by side configuration. The obscured signals received by the microprocessor would be similar to those of one adult.

        Referring to Figure 7E, there is shown one adult and one child walking together through the passage way. The adult and child are walking together front and back. The result of the obscured transmission signals is a conclusion by the system that there is one adult and one item of luggage/person in the passage way Accordingly, it would be necessary to monitor for this scenario using visual operation and supervision, either by an officer locally, or remotely via CCTV cameras.

        Referring to Figure 7F, there is shown a person carrying a baby in his/her arm. This would not be detected by the obscuration of either the upper or lower transmission units, since equality as one person traveling down the passage way.

Accordingly, it would be necessary to monitor for this scenario using visual operation and supervision, either by an officer locally, or remotely via CCTV cameras.

Referring to Figure 7G, there is shown an adult and a baby on the shoulder of the adult. The result of the detected obscure beams would be the similar to that for one adult. This means the system would not be able to detect this particular scenario.

Accordingly, it would be necessary to monitor for this scenario using visual operation and supervision, either by an officer locally, or remotely via CCTV cameras.

Referring to Figure 7H, there is shown an adult pushing a stroller which includes a cover and a baby therein. In this situation, the obscured signals would be consistent with one adult and one item of luggage. As such, the automatic travel clearance system is not able to differentiate this scenario. Accordingly, it would be necessary to monitor for this scenario using visual operation and supervision, either by an officer locally, or remotely via CCTV cameras.

        Similarly, as shown in Figure 71, there is shown an adult pushing a pram or stroller with a baby in it. In this scenario, the pram or stroller has also included an extended cover. The system identifies for this scenario that one adult and one item of luggage of the person is in the channel. Similarly, this situation would be monitored using visual operation and supervision, either by an officer locally, or remotely via CCTV cameras.

        Referring to Figure 7J, there is shown a child walking inside the automatic travel clearance system in the passage way. In this figure, the child is lower than the upper row of transmission units. Accordingly in this scenario, the obscured signals are consistent with an item of luggage remaining in the passage way. As such, the exit door will remain open until the luggage is "removed" from the passage way.

        Referring to Figure 7K, there is shown a person who is attempting to jump or climb from the passageway. This is a detectable error condition, as the transmission signals are no longer obscured in a manner that is expected. Accordingly, the microprocessor can close and alert turn or alarm to be activated to come out in order to attract the attention of the Officer managing the automatic travel system.

        Finally, referring to Figure 7L, there is shown a person who has climbed out of the passageway and left his/her luggage behind. In this scenario, the system can detect based upon the pattern of obscured beam signals that luggage has been left behind, and that a person is no longer present in the passage way. In such a situation, the microprocessor under this circumstance can initiate a signal which triggers an alarm sound or light for the channel in order to attract the attention of the Officer/Supervisor.

        Exemplary algorithms which may be performed upon acquired signals received from upper and lower receiving units for a particular time sequence corresponding to a person walking through the passageway blocking and then moving to unblock certain transmission signals as they progress down the passageway in a typical pattern.

        Where two rows of transmission/receiving units are used at different heights, the heights may be selected such that a typical adult/child will block upper and lower rows. Where the units are spaced apart from each other, they may be spaced apart as shown in the exemplary embodiment by approximately 50mm.

        If the units are spaced apart by 50mm, then a typical person in side profile may be between 150-250mm, and therefore obscure 3-5 sensors. Similarly where the units are spaced apart by between 30mm to 80mm then a different number of sensors will be obscured by a typical person in side profile.

        A typical adult person could obscure three adjacent discrete signals (or one 'block') of signals in the upper row of transmitter/receivers, as well as obscuring three adjacent signals (or 'blocks' of the lower row of transmitter/receivers) at approximately the same displacement down the passageway as the person passes

down the passageway.

        Luggage (for example a hand wheeled suitcase or trolley) may obscure a second three sensor 'block' in the lower row (and potentially also three adjacent sensors in the upper row) spaced apart from the first 'block' of adjacent sensors obscured by the person themselves.

     Where there are more than two 'blocks' in the upper row and more than two 'blocks' in the lower row, then there is a probability that there is potentially more than one person in the passageway and a 'tailgating' scenario may be occurring. If this is the case, the microprocessor can be configured to cause an alarm system to issue

an alert tone or activate a light. The travel clearance system may also prevent the second door portion from opening to block the person traversing the passageway, and any potential 'tailgating' companion.

        The above detection of more than two 'block' signals in the upper and lower transmission units may be monitored using the microprocessor either alone or in conjunction with additional algorithms described below.

        In particular, where the number of obscured signals is determined as being above a pre-determined threshold proportion of the total signals received, then this may also indicate a probability that potentially more than one person may be present in the passageway and tailgating may be occurring. For example, where more than 20% of the total signals which are blocked are present in tailgating 'blocks' described above, then this may be evaluated as a potential tailgating situation by the microprocessor.

         The microprocessor may be configured to perform additional algorithms to determine if tailgating scenario is occurring. These algorithms may be performed individually, with the results weighted by pre-determined ratios appropriate to each assessment, and the sum of the weighted results evaluated against a pre-determined threshold to determine if tailgating is occurring. Weighting of the results of the algorithms is discussed in more detail below. It would be appreciated by a person skilled in the art that the algorithms are specific to the specific implementation of the spacing of the transmission and receiving units and other hardware specific parameters, and may be modified by scaling factors based upon observations of false negatives' (where tailgating is occurring and should have been detected) and false positives' (where there is no tailgating occurring and the sensors indicate that such tailgating is occurring. Scenario testing such as against the scenarios discussed with reference to Figure 7 is an exemplary way in which appropriate parameters may be derived.

(a)   Total Number of obscured signals

      One algorithm which may be utilised to determine the presence of more than one person in the passageway (tailgating) is by determining the total number of obscured transmission signals that at present in a particular 'set' of transmission signals which has been transmitted at a particular time. If this exceeds a particular threshold (such as 10 separate obscured signals) then this may increment a tailgating counter. The total of the tailgating counter derived from this algorithm may then be divided by the total number of signals received in the total set of signals

collected, to arrive at an average.

(b)   Total Number of obscured (recent) signals

         The algorithm may be further refined to only count a certain number of the most recent obscured signals received, rather than all of the signals received as described above.

(c)   Lower PE beams - Abnormal case 1

         An additional algorithm may also be used, where a certain number of the most recent obscured signals of the lower row of units can be detected (e.g. 20 obscured signals) and evaluated to determine how many separated sets of signals are contained. Where there are more than a pre-determined threshold number of signals from separated transmission units that have been blocked, then this can increment a tailgating counter.

  A sum of the total number of tailgating instances detected in a certain time period may be obtained and divided by the total sets of signals (or another number appropriate for the specific configuration) collected over time to determine the average number of tailgating signals detected.

(d)   Lower PE Beams - abnormal case 2

        A further refinement of the above algorithm may also be used, where a certain number of the most recent obscured signals of the lower row of units can be detected (e,g. 20 obscured signals) and evaluated to determine how many separated sets of signals are contained.

        Where there are more than a pre-determined threshold number of signals from adjacent transmission units that have been blocked, then this can increment a tailgating counter. A sum of the total number of tailgating instances detected in a certain time period may be obtained and divided by the total sets of signals (or another number appropriate for the specific configuration) collected over time to determine the average number of tailgating signals detected.

Weighting together

        Once the results of the algorithms have been performed, the various results may be weighted and summed, then assessed against the total number of tailgating counter increments that have occurred, Thus the weighted tailgating counters are added together and if the weighted sum exceeds a pre-determined threshold (e.g. about 20% of the total tailgating counters triggered) then the microprocessor can initiate a tailgating alert.

        In the exemplary embodiment, the following weightings may be applied to the above described algorithms.

1. If number of sets of signals collected is less than or equal to 50, than

    ~  75% for total number of blocked signals counted (a)

    ~  25% for last 20 blocked signals set counted

    ~  100% for abnormal case 1

    ~  100% for abnormal case 2

2. If number of sets of signals collected is less than or equal to 100, than

    ~  65% for total number of blocked signals counted

    ~  35% for last 20 blocked signals counted

    ~  100% for abnormal case 1

    ~  100% for abnormal case 2

3. If number of set of signals collected is more than 100, than

    ~  50% for total number of blocked PE Beam set counted

    ~  50% for last 20 blocked PE Beam set counted

    ~  100% for abnormal case 1

    ~  100% for abnormal case 2

        The present invention provides allows for an automated travel clearance system which has significant advantages when compared to existing automated travel clearance systems.

        As will be appreciated by a person skilled in the art, advantages provided by the present invention include that maintenance or modification to the units of the barrier structure can be performed without compromising the integrity of the passageway at a site location where multiple automated travel clearance systems are installed in a side by side configuration. As the units are disengage able from the barrier structure the integrity of adjacent passageways can be maintained where the units of one barrier structure are under repair. It is of particular importance to maintain the integrity of a system installed at border crossings or between secure areas, to prevent inaccurate travel records or admission of undesireable persons to areas.

         In many installations providing clearance of persons moving from a first area to a second area, there are often multiple barrier structures installed to define 10, 20 and even more passageways. As such, in prior art installations where one unit of a barrier structure is out of order, this can mean that the integrity of two or more

passageways may be compromised while the whole structure is taken off site to be repaired. Access to affect the repair, upgrade or replacement of a unit is further complicated by the fact most installations having installed barrier structures operate continuously around the clock and are often at boundaries between nation states,

necessitating special clearances and access controls.

        Furthermore, the present invention provides for minimization of downtime of the system, when upgrades or replacements of units are being conducted.  This saves both time and money, and allows technicians to perform their work with a minimum disruption to the overall travel clearance system.

         In addition, an embodiment of the present invention where identification data acquisition units are installed at both ends of the barrier structure allows the structure to be deployed to process clearance of people moving from a first area to a second area, and are readily adaptable to process persons moving in the reverse direction from the second area to a first area. This offers a particular advantage for small facilities, which may have limited staff and constraints on size that may be allocated to clearance facilities. Furthermore, such relatively small facilities may have sporadic bursts of activity, being required to process large numbers of passengers in a short period of time, but being relatively quiet thereafter (e.g. clearance systems used near holiday locations such as beaches or ski resorts with a defined season).

         Additionally, the ability to process persons moving in both directions may also be particularly advantageous for large facilities which have an unexpected numbers of passengers arriving which require processing. For example after incoming passengers from a flight have been disembarked and all passed through a travel clearance system there may be a large number of persons awaiting clearance. The otherwise underutilized travel clearance channels may be activated for processing outward bound persons and thereby reduce the backlog. Even in large and busy airports and terminals, space is at a premium. As such, embodiments of the present invention which can process travelers moving in both directions offers significant advantages over prior art systems, which process travelers moving in only one direction and occupy significant space.

        A deficiency associated with existing automated travel clearance systems is failure to detect where two or more persons are present in the passageway. As discussed, compromise to the system of this nature can seriously impact the ability to monitor the passage of persons between areas. A person skilled in the art will appreciate that this in turn has serious implications for the integrity of travel records of people between areas, including the possibility that persons of interest to police may evade immigration processing.

         By providing transmission/receiving units which are spaced at predetermined intervals, and detecting where signals emitted from such units are not received, a more accurate determination of the occupancy status of a passageway can be carried out. Embodiments of the present invention described above provide a number of methods which may be performed on a computer based upon the received signals, and which may be operated alone or in combination. These techniques provide for much greater accuracy in the detection and prevention of 'tailgating' by persons attempting to subvert the automated travel clearance system of the present invention.

         As will be appreciated by a person skilled in the art, although the present invention has been described in some aspects for use in immigration processing type facility, the embodiments of the present invention could also be used to control access in secure areas, including military facilities, research laboratories and the like without departing from the present invention.

Furthermore, a person skilled in the art would appreciate that many types of biometric data could be provided by the person in the passageway, without departing from the present invention.

    While the present invention has been explained by reference to the examples or preferred embodiments described above, it will be appreciated that those are examples to assist understanding of the present invention and are not meant to be restrictive, Variations or modifications which are obvious or trivial to persons skilled in the art, as well as improvements made thereon, should be considered as equivalents of this invention.

 

Claims

1.    An elongate barrier structure for use with an adjacent a further elongate barrier structure in an automated clearance system for authorising the passage of a person from a first area to a second area via a passageway defined between said elongate barrier structure and said further elongate barrier structure, said elongate barrier structure comprising:

         a first gate portion located towards a first end of the elongate barrier structure and a second gate portion located towards a second end of the frame portion, the first gate portion being moveable from an open position for allowing passage of the person from said first area towards said second area, and the first gate portion being moveable to a closed position to prevent passage of the person there through,

        an identification data acquisition portion located towards the first end of the elongate barrier structure, the identification data acquisition portion for acquiring identification data from an information carrier article indicative of the identity of the person, such that upon acquisition of the identification data said first gate moves towards the open position so as to allow passage of the person through said first gate.

        a biometric data acquisition portion located between said first gate and said second gate for acquisition of biometric data from said person, such that upon confirmation of the identity of the person by verification of the biometric data against the identification data, the second gate moves to an open position to allow passage of the person through said second gate, and a frame portion supporting the biometric data acquisition portion, identification data acquisition portion, first gate portion and second gate portion.

wherein upon disengagement of the identification data acquisition portion or disengagement of the biometric data acquisition portion from the elongate barrier structure, the frame portion defines one wall of the passageway and prevents egress of the person there through.

2.    An elongate barrier structure according to claim 1, wherein at least one of the first gate portion or the second gate portion is disengageable from the elongate barrier structure.

3.    An elongate barrier structure according to claim 1 or claim 2, further including a second identification data acquisition portion for acquiring identification data from the person, the second data acquisition portion being located towards the second end of the elongate barrier structure such that the acquisition of said data is configured to move the second gate to an open position for passage of the person through the second gate to allow passage of a person from the second area to the first area through said passageway.

4.    An elongate barrier structure according to claim 3, further including a second biometric data acquisition unit located between said first gate portion and said second gate portion for acquisition of biometric data from the person, such that upon verification of acquired biometric data and acquired identification data, the first gate portion is moveable to allow passage of the person through said first gate portion to said first area.

5.    An elongate barrier structure according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the biometric data acquisition portion or an identification data acquisition portion is disengage able from the elongate barrier structure for configuration of the system at an installed location.

6.    An elongate barrier structure according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the biometric data acquisition portion is configured to read data selected from the group including one or more the group comprising a fingerprint, facial recognition, a voiceprint, EEG (brainwaves) trace signature, retinal eye scan, iris scan, hand geometry, palm vein pattern, signature creation speed, sign creation speed or signature.

7.    An elongate barrier structure according to any one of the preceding claims wherein said biometric data acquisition data portion is configured for reading a thumb print.

8.    An elongate barrier structure according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the identification data acquisition portion is configured for acquiring identification data from an information carrier article comprising a document selected from the group including a travel document, identification card, passport and driver's licence.

9.    An elongate barrier structure according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the identification data acquisition portion is configured to detect if the document is a legitimate identification document.

10.   An elongate barrier structure according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the first gate portion is formed by a first gate member laterally extending from the elongate barrier structure in a direction of towards the adjacent elongate barrier structure and a second gate member laterally extending from the adjacent elongate barrier structure in a direction of towards the elongate barrier structure.

11.   An elongate barrier structure according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the second gate portion is formed by a first gate member laterally extending from the elongate barrier structure in a direction of towards the adjacent elongate barrier structure and a second gate member laterally extending from the adjacent elongate barrier structure in a direction of towards the elongate barrier structure.

12.   An elongate barrier structure according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the gate members are moveable between the open position and the closed position by actuation of a brushless motor.

13.   An elongate barrier structure according to claim 1 in combination with a further elongate barrier structure, said elongate barrier structure being spaced apart from and adjacent to said further elongate barrier structure for providing an automated clearance system, said automated clearance system being for authorizing the passage of a person from a first area to a second area via a passageway defined between said elongate barrier structure and said further elongate barrier structure wherein upon disengagement of the identification data acquisition portion or of the biometric data acquisition portion from the elongate barrier structure, the frame portion of said elongate barrier structure and said further elongate barrier structure maintains the passageway and prevents egress of the person from said passageway.

14.   An elongate barrier structure according to claim 13 wherein the elongate barrier structure is the elongate barrier structure according to any one of claims 2 to 12.

15.   An elongate barrier structure according to claim 1 in combination with a further elongate barrier structure, for providing a system for authorizing the passage of a person from a first area to a second area via a passageway defined between said elongate barrier structure and said further elongate barrier structure, said elongate barrier structure being spaced apart from and adjacent to said further elongate barrier structure and further including:

         a plurality of lower transmission units extending along and positioned adjacent the elongate barrier structures and a plurality of corresponding lower receiving units extending along and positioned adjacent the other elongate barrier structure, wherein each of said lower transmission units are spaced apart from each other at predetermined intervals along at least a portion of one side of the passageway at a first height and each of said plurality of corresponding lower receiver units are spaced apart from each other at predetermined intervals along at least a portion of one side of the passageway at a first height,

        a plurality of upper transmission units extending along and positioned adjacent one of the elongate barrier structure and a plurality of corresponding upper receiver units extending along and positioned adjacent the other elongate barrier structure, wherein each of said upper transmission units are spaced apart from each other at predetermined intervals along at least a portion of one side of the passageway at a second height and each of said plurality of corresponding upper receiver units are spaced apart from each other at predetermined intervals along at least a portion of one side of the passageway at a second height,

                 wherein each of said transmission units provides a discrete signal transmission towards each of said corresponding receiver units arranged at corresponding positions at the other side of said passageway, and wherein each transmission unit is spaced apart from an adjacent transmission unit such that upon passage of a person through the passageway three or more discrete signals from adjacent transmission units are obscured; and

        a microprocessor for receiving signals from the receiving units, wherein upon detection of three or more discrete signals from adjacent transmission units being obscured, the processor detects the presence of a person within said passageway.

16.   An elongate barrier structure according to claim 15 wherein upon the detection that two or more sets of three or more discrete signals from adjacent transmission units are obscured, the microprocessor detects the presence of two or more persons in the passageway.

17.    An elongate barrier structure according to claim 16, wherein the detection that two or more sets of three or more discrete signals from adjacent transmission units are obscured, and the total number of obscured signals exceeds a pre-determined threshold proportion of the overall transmission signals, the microprocessor detects the presence of two or more persons in the passageway.

18    An elongate barrier structure according to any one of claims 15 to 17, wherein the transmission units are spaced apart from adjacent transmission units by a distance of in the range of from 30mm to 80mm.

19.   An elongate barrier structure according to any one of claims 15 to 18, wherein the transmission units are spaced apart from adjacent transmission units by a distance of in the range of about 50mm.

20.   An elongate barrier structure according to any one of claims 15 to 19, wherein the first height is in a range of from 300mm to 700mm, and the second height is in a range of from 750mm to 1250mm from the ground surface.

21.   An elongate barrier structure according to any one of claims 15 to 20, wherein the first height is about 500mm, and the second height is about 1000mm from the ground surface.

22.   An elongate barrier structure according to any one of claims 15 to 21, wherein the number of transmission units in the upper and lower plurality of transmission units is in the range of about from between 25-50.

23.   An elongate barrier structure according to any one of claims 15 to 22, wherein the number of transmission units in the upper plurality of transmission units is 48 and in the lower plurality of transmission units is 32.

24.   An elongate barrier structure according to claim 1 in combination with a further elongate barrier structure for providing a system for authorizing the passage of a person from a first area to a second area via a passageway defined between said elongate barrier structure and said further elongate barrier structure, said elongate barrier structure being spaced apart from and adjacent to said further elongate barrier structure, and further including:

        a plurality of lower transmission units extending along and positioned adjacent one of the elongate barrier structure and a plurality of corresponding lower receiving units extending along and positioned adjacent the other elongate barrier structure, wherein each of said lower transmission units are spaced apart from each other at predetermined intervals along at least a portion of one side of the passageway at a first height and each of said plurality of corresponding lower receiver units are spaced apart from each other at predetermined intervals along at least a portion of one side of the passageway at a first height,

        a plurality of upper transmission units extending along and positioned adjacent one of the elongate barrier structure and a plurality of corresponding upper receiver units extending along and positioned adjacent the other elongate barrier structure, wherein each of said upper transmission units are spaced apart from each other at predetermined intervals along at least a portion of one side of the passageway at a second height and each of said plurality of corresponding upper receiver units are spaced apart from each other at predetermined intervals along at least a portion of one side of the passageway at a second height,

 

         wherein each of said transmission units provides a discrete signal transmission towards each of said corresponding receiver units arranged at corresponding positions at the other side of said passageway, and

         wherein each transmission unit is spaced apart from an adjacent transmission unit such that upon passage of a first person through the passageway the number of signals from transmission units which are obscured is below a pre-determined threshold, and upon passage of a further person through the passageway, the number of obscured transmission signals exceeds said pre-determined threshold, and

        a microprocessor for receiving signals from the receiving units, wherein the determination of the number of obscured transmission signals is weighted, according to predetermined ratios, and if such weightings exceed a further predetermined threshold, the presence of a further person within said passageway is detected.

25.   An elongate barrier structure according to claim 1 in combination with a further elongate barrier structure according to claim 24, wherein the microprocessor is configured to determine the total number of obscured signals for all transmission units in the plurality of upper transmission units and the plurality of lower transmission units.

26.   An elongate barrier structure according to claim 1 in combination with a further elongate barrier structure according to claim 24, wherein the microprocessor is configured to determine the total number of obscured signals for a predetermined number of transmission units selected from the plurality of upper transmission units and the plurality of lower transmission units.

27.   An elongate barrier structure according to claim 1 in combination with a further elongate barrier structure according to claim 24, wherein the microprocessor is configured to determine the total number of obscured signals for a predetermined number of transmission units in the plurality of upper transmission units and the plurality of lower transmission units, wherein the predetermined number of transmission units corresponds to the last 20 signals received.

28.   An elongate barrier structure according to claim 1 in combination with a further elongate barrier structure according to claim 24, wherein the microprocessor is configured to determine the total number of occurrences of obscured signals received from a pre-determined number of transmission units of the lower plurality of transmission units.

29.   An elongate barrier structure according to claim 1 in combination with a further elongate barrier structure according to claim 24, wherein the microprocessor is configured to determine the total number of occurrences of a plurality of adjacent obscured signals received from a pre-determined number of transmission units of the lower plurality of transmission units.

30.   An elongate barrier structure according to claim 1 in combination with a further elongate barrier structure according to claim 24, wherein the pre-determined number transmission units of the lower plurality of transmission units is 20, and the plurality of adjacent obscured signals is two adjacent discrete signals.

31.   An elongate barrier structure according to claim 1 in combination with a further elongate barrier structure according to claims 24-30, wherein the determination of the total number of signals received determines the weightings applied to the total number of occurrences of obscured signals detected by the microprocessor.

32.   An elongate barrier structure according to claim 1 in combination with a further elongate barrier structure according to claims 24 wherein if the total number of signals detected is less than or equal to 50, the predetermined ratios are weighted at about 75% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 25, a weighting of about 25% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 26, and weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 28, and a weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 29 is applied to determine a weighted sum of obscured signals detected.

33.   An elongate barrier structure according to claim 1 in combination with a further elongate barrier structure according to claims 32 wherein if the weighted sum exceeds a predetermined amount, the processor detects the presence of a further person within said passageway.

34.   An elongate barrier structure according to claim 1 in combination with a further elongate barrier structure according to claim 24 wherein if the total number of signals detected is less than or equal to 100, the predetermined ratios are weighted at about 65% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 25, a weighting of about 35% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 26, and weighting of about 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 28, and a weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 29 is applied to determine a weighted sum of obscured signals detected.

35.   An elongate barrier structure according to claim 1 in combination with a further elongate barrier structure according to claim 34 wherein if the weighted sum exceeds a predetermined amount, the processor detects the presence of a further person within said passageway.

36.   An elongate barrier structure according to claim 1 in combination with a further elongate barrier structure according to claim 24 wherein if the total number of signals detected is more than 100, the predetermined ratios are weighted at about 50% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 25, a weighting of 50% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 26, and weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 28, and a weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 29 is applied to determine a weighted sum of obscured signals detected.

37.   An elongate barrier structure according to claim 1 in combination with a further elongate barrier structure according to claim 36 wherein if the weighted sum exceeds a predetermined amount, the processor detects the presence of a further person within said passageway.

38.   A method for authorizing the passage of a person from a first area to a second area via a passageway defined between an elongate barrier structure according to any one of claims 1-36 and a further elongate barrier structure positioned adjacent the elongate barrier structure in an automated clearance system.

39.    A method for authorising the passage of a person according to claim 38 when appended to claim 15, the method including the steps of:

        (i)   receiving signals from the plurality of transmission units;

        (ii)  determining the number of discrete signals from adjacent transmission units which are obscured; and

        (iii)  determining the presence of a person within said passageway upon detection of three or more discrete signals from adjacent transmission units being obscured.

40.           A method for authorizing the passage of a person according to claim 39, further including:

determining if two or more sets of three or more discrete signals from adjacent transmission units are obscured.

41.   A method for authorizing the passage of a person according to claim 40, further including the step of:

     detection if two or more sets of three or more discrete signals from adjacent transmission units are obscured, determining if the total number of obscured signals exceeds a predetermined threshold proportion of the overall transmission signals, and

         determining the presence of two or more persons in the passageway if two or more sets of three or more discrete signals from adjacent transmission units are obscured and if the total number of obscured signals exceeds the pre-determined threshold proportion of the overall transmission signals.

42.   A method for authorizing the passage of a person the presence of one or more persons in the passageway of the automated clearance system according to claim 15, said methods including the steps of:

        (i)  receiving signals from the plurality of transmission units;

        (ii)  determining the number of discrete signals from transmission units which are obscured;

        (iii)  providing a weighting to the number of obscured transmission signals according to predetermined ratios,

(iv)              determining if the weighted number of obscured transmission signals exceed a further predetermined threshold, and

 (v)   determining the presence of a further person within said passageway if the weighted number of obscured transmission signals exceed the further predetermined threshold.

43.   A method for authorising the passage of a person according to claim 42, further including the step of determining the total number of obscured signals.

44.   A method for authorising the passage of a person according to claim 43, further including the step of determining if total number of obscured signals for a predetermined number of signals exceeds a predetermined threshold amount.

45.   A method for authorising the passage of a person according to claim 44, wherein the predetermined number of signals corresponds to the most recent 20 signals received.

46.   A method for authorising the passage of a person according to claim 45, wherein the signals of the pre-determined number of signals are generated from transmission units of the lower plurality of transmission units.

47.   method for authorising the passage of a person according to claim 45, wherein the obscured signals are counted if detected from adjacent transmission units.

48.   A method for authorizing the passage of a person according to any one of claims 42 to 47, wherein the determination of the total number of signals received determines the weightings applied to the total number of occurrences of obscured signals detected by the microprocessor.

49.   A method for authorizing the passage of a person according to 47, wherein upon the total number of signals received is less than about 50, the predetermined ratios are weighted at about 75% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claims 43 or 44, a weighting of about 25% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 45, and weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 46, and a weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 47 is applied to determine a weighted sum of obscured signals detected.

50.   A method for authorizing the passage of a person according to claim 49, wherein if the weighted sum exceeds a predetermined amount, the presence of a further person within said passageway is detected.

51.   A method for authorizing the passage of a person according to claim 47, wherein upon the total number of signals received is in the range from 50 to 100, the predetermined ratios are weighted at about 65% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claims 43 or 44, a weighting of about 35% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 45, and weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 46, and a weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 47 is applied to determine a weighted sum of obscured signals detected.

52.   A method for authorizing the passage of a person according to claim 51, wherein if the weighted sum exceeds a predetermined amount, the presence of a further person within said passageway is detected.

53.   A method for authorizing the passage of a person according to claim 47, wherein upon the total number of signals received is greater than about 100, the predetermined ratios are weighted at about 50% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claims 43 or 44, a weighting of about 50% to the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 45, and weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 46, and a weighting of 100% of the total number of occurrences detected according to claim 47 is applied to determine a weighted sum of obscured signals detected.

54.   A method for authorizing the passage of a person according to claim 53, wherein if the weighted sum exceeds a predetermined amount, the presence of a further person within said passageway is detected.

Figure 1 shows an exemplary perspective view of an automated

 clearance system according to the present invention;

  Figure 2a is an exemplary perspective view of one of the barrier

structures from the clearance system depicted in Figure 1;

Figure 2b is a front view of the barrier structure shown in Figure 2a;

   Figure 2c is a top view of the barrier structure shown in Figure 2a;

 

 Figure 2d is a side view of the barrier structure

shown in Figure 2a;

    Figure 2e is an exploded view of an exemplary strip containing transmission/receiving units of the present invention.

  Figure 2f is an exemplary arrangement showing how the upper strips

may be mounted in a location.

   Figure 2g is an exemplary arrangement showing how the lower

strips may be mounted in a location.

 

  Figure 3a is a perspective view of an exemplary identification data device

portion for use in the clearance system depicted in Figure 1.

 Figure 3b is a side view of the exemplary identification data device portion of

Figure 3a.

Figure 3c is a front view of the exemplary identification data device portion

of Figure 3a.

 

Figure 3d is a top view of the exemplary identification data device

portion of Figure 3a.

   Figure 4a is a perspective view of an exemplary biometric data acquisition device portion suitable for use in the clearance system of Figure 1.

Figure 4b is a side view of an exemplary biometric data acquisition device

portion of Figure 4a.

   Figure 4c is a front view of an exemplary biometric data acquisition device portion of Figure 4a.

Figure 4d is a top view of an exemplary biometric data acquisition device portion of Figure 4a,

   Figure 5 is a flowchart depicting the typical stages in an exemplary embodiment of a clearance system;

Figure 6a is an exemplary view of the barrier structure of Figure 1 in an installed location having all biometric data acquisition devices and identification data devices removed for servicing.

   Figure 6b is an exemplary view of the barrier structure of Figure 1 in an installed location having one biometric data acquisition device and one identification data device removed for servicing.

Figures 7a - Figures 71 show a number of exemplary scenarios where more than one person may be detected as present in the clearance system,