The developed border surveillance technologies and ROBORDER platform will be tested in 3 main pilot use cases, consisting of several scenarios covering multiple types of possible violations. The use cases will be deployed and the platform will be tested in training grounds owned by border authorities of the consortium and their collaborators, located in Portugal, Estonia, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. Nonetheless, ROBORDER will have three, while all other use case scenarios will be operational tests. In each evaluation cycle 3 different use cases will be tested in different countries, in order to exhibit the wide applicability of ROBORDER over different scenarios, and present any technical issues that should be improved for the next prototypes.
1. Demonstrator for detecting unauthorised sea border crossing
Story: The island of Kos, due to its closeness to the Turkish coast line is one of the possible EU’s “points of entry” for irregular immigrants and land and sea surveillance assets are deployed to patrol the sea area. The length of the coastal line from Mastichari (point A) to Kardamena (point B) is approx. 52 km. In this Surveillance Zone (SZ-indicated by the dotted line) traditional and new technologies should be combined to address the control needs of the Hellenic/European Sea borders. Observation posts, radars (e.g., BOR-A radar), thermal cameras in combination with UAVs, USVs and UGVs cover the SZ. The Regional Command and Control Center has been established on one of the Kos-Karpathos complex’s islet or on a patrolling boat (e.g., Hellenic Navy’s gunboat), receiving the incoming information, processing and deciding the best action in order to accomplish its mission. The Military Observation Post, using a BOR-A radar, reports the detection of an unknown vessel in the islets complex. The regional CCC, immediately launches a UAV and USVs in order to verify the information and proceed with the standard procedures. The data provided to the CCC, confirms that a small vessel with irregular immigrants is approaching the Kos coast. The officer in duty informs the Central Command and Control Center about the illegal trespassing and combined National and European Force is activated. Due to the bad weather (heavy wind) the vessel starts to sink and the whole operation is becoming a Search and Rescue (SAR) Operation.
Application: This use case involves the monitoring of sea passages and islets in the Greek archipelago. We assume that static (supervision) devices have been deployed in islets sensing/overlooking the local land but also the inter-islet water space. The devices accumulate information that can be further processed or communicated to other devices when need arises. The scenario is enriched through the operation of a regional C&C center, deployed on a boat traveling in very specific itineraries and collecting the measurements from islets. The role of the data mule is assigned to heterogeneous autonomous vehicles such as UAVs, USV and UGV according to the current needs (e.g. weather conditions). The mule is equipped with an optimized collection of sensors ranging from coastal radars, passive radars, optical cameras, infra-red and RF sensors. The data mule is released from facilities ashore (e.g., a naval base or harbor in nearby islands like Kos). The mobile devices interacts with static infrastructure communicating real-time data obtained during their mission enabling the commander to extend his surveillance capabilities and, thus, determine, whether an alarming situation is developing (e.g., irregular immigrants transiting). Furthermore, the devices are capable of video capturing and full recording from additional sensors.
2. Demonstrator for detecting unauthorised land border crossing
Story: At the Hungarian-Serbian Border Section, near Röszke, June 10, 2016, around 11 pm. The operators of the Infrared Surveillance Tower Network (ISTN) detected a group of persons close to the border fence. While the patrols were sent to the given section of the fence, they reported buzz of electric engines. A UAV operated by the human traffickers was performing counter-surveillance from the Serbian side. Such situations were not uncommon, just a few days before an overloaded quadcopter crashed right in the middle of a police campsite with its drug cargo. Now the patrols gathered on the Hungarian side where the group was waiting, at the edge of the forest. Suddenly, another, even larger group appeared from the trees, at the fence, but two miles away towards west, at a section from where patrols were regrouped because of the first group. The smuggler escorting the second group quickly cut the fence and they started to pour across. Officers rushed towards them, but 21 persons made it through and ran away before they reached the hole in the fence, stopping the rest of them. Victoria, the duty officer was facing a hard decision, if she orders a hot pursuit, patrols have to be moved away from the fence and the other group would surely use the chance to get through. She decided to keep the patrols at the fence. Trespassers made though that night were chased down only next morning, for tremendous costs: involving a Mi-8 helicopter, two patrol vehicles and four patrol officers in the search. The hole in the fence was documented and closed after.
Application: ROBORDER’s autonomous systems will allow to patrol undeveloped areas by enabling to reach areas not covered by roads or hardly accessible and to control and monitor crossing points outside opening hours, leading not only to an optimized surveillance and control situation of large areas with the coverage of specific and dynamic spots. The workflow based combination of the ROBORDER technologies and agents deployed enables the command center to gather relevant information in an early stage to direct mobile surveillance units like UAVs or UGV based tethered drones in specific zones. Those units, able to cover considerable areas, will then be the source for directing patrols to the spots with trespassing persons. This information also increases the border patrols personal security as they are prepared to the number of trespasser and possibly used vehicles. The ROBORDER advanced sensors on mobile platforms as well as the combination of the different sensor capabilities leverages the efficiency of border patrols by decreasing personal risks.
3. Demonstrator for detecting pollution accidents
Motivation: Land and marine surveillance is quite important for predicting and responding efficiently to crises and emergencies associated with both natural and man-made disasters such as meteorological hazards (e.g., fires, floods, sea storms) and technological disasters, whether deliberate or accidental (e.g. chemical accidents on cross-border areas). Being able to detect environmental conditions (currents, wind, waves, and sea surface temperature) is of primary importance for an effective and safe response to every kind of accident at sea, aiming to protect both human lives and environment. Consequences of environmental disasters at sea can easily cross borders and impact on several Nations (as demonstrated for example by the Prestige case). For these specific cases, the capability to detect positions and to track movement of pollutants (e.g., spilled oil) is also of primary importance.
Story: In November 2002 a tanker called Prestige transporting a total of 77.000 tons of fuel sank off the north west Spanish coast, affecting as well the Portuguese coast. The accident occurred during adverse weather conditions and the ship spilled 17.000 tons. After sinking, the ship continued spilling fuel until it reached 63.000 tons of fuel.
Application: ROBORDER will demonstrate the capability to detect and track pollutants spilled at sea, and to determine key environmental conditions needed for defining the response and for forecasting the fate of the pollutants. As real cases of accidents at sea are luckily rather infrequent, and basically unpredictable, the capability will be tested using a natural phenomenon as a proxy of pollutant spill: a river plume will be detected and tracked by autonomous vehicles and key environmental conditions measured. The river plume case is relevant also per-se, as the possibility of pollutants discharged at sea by rivers in consequence of an accident on land is real.