The TEKEVER group is building up an unmanned aerial system program in the Azores islands (Portugal) to perform multiple types of near shore and maritime missions, including search and rescue, surveillance, illegal fishing, maritime patrol and pollution detection, among others. The Azores islands, because of their geography and location, are a strategic area to test and improve the usage of this type of technology to support missions that are otherwise extremely costly and complex to perform.
The program starts by having a six-month-long trial using a variety of TEKEVER platforms and sensor combinations, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the different systems for the extreme scenarios that can be found in the islands. The program is a result from the close cooperation between TEKEVER and the Azorean Government.
What about Azores? The Azores islands rise out of the ocean where three continental plates rub against one another forming mountains in the deep mid Atlantic. They are an autonomous region of Portugal, consisting of nine small volcanic islands midway between Newfoundland and Lisbon. The size of the Azores Exclusive Economic Zone is about 1 000 000 km2 with an average depth of about 3000 meters.
“Yes, it’s huge! Portugal has the 3rd largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the EU and the 10th largest EEZ in the world! On the other hand, the Azores are a strategic place for aviation. The Santa Maria (Azores) air traffic control center covers the airspace above a vast area in the North Atlantic Ocean, starting in 15° west until 40° west, descending approximately to the latitude of the Cape Verde archipelago”, referred Ricardo Mendes, TEKEVER COO.
The trials began in April and the company is currently studying the possibility of a permanent presence in the archipelago.