Seventeen (17) organizations from eleven (11) European countries joined forces for a new project on technologies which enhance border and external security.
The project will combine for the first time a multi-role lighter-than-air (LTA) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with an ultra-high resolution multi-sensor surveillance payload supporting border surveillance, search & rescue applications and specifically rough terrain detection.
The sensor payload will include synthetic aperture radar (SAR), laser detection and ranging (LADAR), shortwave/longwave infrared (SWIR/LWIR) and acoustic cameras for landscape mapping, as well as optical and hyperspectral cameras for indirect detection (via vegetation disturbance).
The project will use the ground-based infrastructure of border police units (command & control centres), innovative data models (to identify irregular crossing patterns and preferred routes) and advanced audio/video analytics and storage (to provide additional detection capabilities).
The technology concepts will be validated in the field by 5 border police units (Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine) covering 3 major irregular migration routes into Europe (Eastern Mediterranean, Western Balkan and Eastern Borders Routes), which represent 58% of all irregular border crossings detected and are also the most used for smuggling of drugs, weapons and stolen vehicles.
The validation will be through 3 trials in controlled environment and their reports.
- The first pilot trial will take place at the HSF partner premises in Croatia.
- The second one at the Romanian border involving accordingly the border police units from Moldavia and Romania.
- The third one at the Hellenic and Bulgarian border involving the respective border police units.
The data and the cross learning information that will be collected from the field trials, will be combined in a report that will evaluate the system performance and lessons learned in various weather conditions/terrains.
The combined solution will provide high coverage, resolution and revisit time with a lower cost (4 EUR/kg/hr) than satellites and higher endurance (100 kg payload for 12 hours) than drones. Based on the field trial results, the consortium expects to develop a solution that can be deployed further by European border police after the project completion.
The project will also involve the contribution of NGOs working with irregular migration and human right protection issues, as well as regulatory experts dealing with the ethics and privacy requirements of border surveillance solutions.