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Through-foliage detection, including in the outermost regions of the EU
Deadline: Aug 24, 2017  

 Horizon Europe
 European Union

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Member States' authorities are carrying out activities all along the European border, and have started to share operational and situational information. But several regions at the borders of the European Union are covered with forests, and face extreme temperature conditions. Detecting, locating, tracking or identifying persons and vehicles crossing the border in forested regions is extremely difficult given that technologies for surveillance through harsh unstructured environments are currently not effective. The increasing risk of irregular flows and immigration across the border with, for instance, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia or Brazil makes the issue even more acute than in the past.


Systems should be developed that combine or improve surveillance technologies and techniques and arrays of sensors of different sorts capable to provide higher quality detection capabilities and imaging via the integration of different techniques, to achieve wide- and small-area through foliage detection, despite the canopy density, in a real operational context. They could build on airborne, satellite-based, and/or on ground based platforms.

Solutions should be tested and validated in terms of capabilities to control effectively the land border covered by a vegetation layer, in all weather conditions.

Pre-competitive research may be needed to address various stages of development, from sensor design, to the analysis and design of system configuration and to the integration and validation by (public) authorities for target detection, identification and recognition.

Overlap with the work being undertaken by border surveillance authorities in the context of the EWISA[[]] project should be avoided, whilst compatibility with previous results from FP7 or H2020 projects is encouraged. Ethical and societal acceptance needs to be properly addressed.

Whereas activities will have an exclusive focus on civil applications, coordination with the activities of the European Defence Agency (EDA) may be considered with possible synergies being established with projects funded by the EDA programmes. The complementarity of such synergies should be described comprehensively. On-going cooperation should be taken into account.

The outcome of the proposal is expected to lead to development up to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5 or 6; please see part G of the General Annexes.

Indicative budget: The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of € 8million would allow for this topic to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

Short term:

  • Improved border surveillance and search-and-rescue capabilities, especially in forested regions;

Medium term;

  • Validated through-foliage detection technologies, in terms of fitness for purpose, low rate of false alarms, practicability, mobility, and cost effectiveness.

Long term:

  • Demonstrated through-foliage detection technologies in the context of realistic operational scenarios, in extreme weather conditions, to be implemented in collaboration with the relevant border surveillance authorities and in regions where the Frontex Agency indicates that important illegal border crossing and smuggling may be taking place.

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