AI scanners seek to detect weapons in schools

Evolv Technology has announced that it has a “detection system” that will use scanners and AI to detect weapons at school entrances. In addition, a whole “no lines” experience was offered; although the reality is totally different.

Jennifer Dean, principal of Mallard Creek High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, e-mailed news of the installation of the new security system to all staff members. Evolv Technology is the manufacturer of the system and is based in Massachusetts. The purpose of the scanning is to detect any concealed weapons that students, teachers, school staff or parents intend to bring into the building.

In the email sent, Dean states that she is “excited about the new equipment and our scanning process, which will become another layer of security support for our school.” The director also noted that

“we have the unique opportunity, through the use of these scanners, to proactively detect weapons every day and deter people from bringing weapons onto our campus.”

Optimism towards AI

Evolv Technology is optimistic about the commercialization of this new technology. The various deadly shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, have been an opportunity for the firm to argue that its system could have prevented these tragedies. In addition to schools, the company has been targeting diverse customers, such as sports stadiums and other large sites in the United States.

The email from the high school principal also reached many guests who are part of the public records request with the school district. The school’s management aligned itself with Evolv Technology on the benefits of the AI-based security system.

The manufacturer’s website describes that people will be able to “move quickly through security checkpoints at a fluid pace, knowing that they are well protected everywhere within their location.” Repeatedly, the firm boasts that its system does not require “braking” during access, emptying pockets or removing bag contents. The manufacturer has also pointed out that fewer security personnel are required compared to traditional metal detectors.

An unprecedented test

The major concern is centered on the lack of research into the effectiveness of AI detection of weapons. Evolv Technology has not been able to rely on much evidence to support the claims and promises of its system and stated objectives. Schools also encounter problems when it comes to the operation of the scanners. This AI does not yet distinguish laptops and other everyday items very accurately.