Nineteen (19) organizations from twelve (12) 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 direct target detection, 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 illegal 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 6 border police units (Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus) covering 3 major illegal migration routes into Europe (Eastern Mediterranean, Western Balkan and Eastern Borders Routes), which represent 58% of all illegal border crossings detected and are also the most used for smuggling of drugs, weapons and stolen vehicles. The validation will be through 3 field trials and their reports.
  • The first field trial will take place at the Belarusian and Ukrainian border involving the respective border police units.
  • The second one at the Romanian and Moldavian border involving accordingly the respective border police units.
  • 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 illegal migration and human right protection issues, as well as regulatory experts dealing with the ethics and privacy requirements of border surveillance solutions.

BorderUAS aims for a holistic UAS surveillance approach integrating aerial and ground components using next generation sensors and technologies and developing a consistent platform used for daily border operations and beyond.

The main objectives of the project are:

OBJ1 - Develop UAS components to support low cost and long duration border surveillance operations

A UAS system including both flight and ground segments will be initially designed. BorderUAS will produce a full-size UAV prototype, and license experimental flights in field trial countries for the purpose of field execution testing. Ground operation components (remote supervision, audio-video data analytics and storage, interface with command and control centres) will be integrated to the final solution.

OBJ2 - Develop sensors and data processing /fusion/interpretation methods to support detection and tracking in difficult terrain, extreme weather conditions and unstructured environments

BorderUAS will improve individual sensors used for detection in difficult terrain, for in-situ data acquisition and for UAV operations. Additionally, it will develop new data processing, fusion and interpretation methods.

OBJ3 - Validate and test the solution in realistic border surveillance conditions

Three (3) field tests will take place concluding to validation reports. In the first field test Belarusian and Ukrainian border police units will have the main role of its implementation. Romanian and Moldovan border police units will be responsible for the second field test and in the third and last field test Hellenic and Bulgarian border police units will have the main operational role.

OBJ4 - Conduct dissemination, communication and exploitation activities

In general dissemination & communication strategy will focus on promoting the project’s results and developing multi facet ecosystems regarding the related end users (LEAs, Border Police Units, Regulators, Policy authorities and the Industry). Additionally, remarkable efforts will be made on achieving exploitation objectives of the project’s results and delivering a concrete business plan regarding the final solution offered by BorderUAS.

Jun 2020
Mar 2021
Specs Ready
May 2022
UAV Ready
Sep 2022
Remote sensing ready
Mar 2023
Integrated Solution Ready
Oct 2023
Field trials completed
Nov 2023
Project Complete