Friday, April 9, 2021

European project ROBORDER tests the use of unmanned systems for sea pollutant discharge detection and management

The exercise simulated a hydrocarbon spill in Portuguese waters, which was
consequently detected and analyzed using artificial intelligence systems.

The European project ROBORDER recently carried out a hydrocarbon spill detection and analysis exercise. It tested the capabilities of unmanned aerial and aquatic systems for the management of similar incidents.

The tests were carried out in November in Portuguese waters in collaboration with the
National Republican Guard. In this exercise, which was coordinated by everis Aerospace, Defense and Security (everis ADS), two unmanned systems were used.

One was the ATLANTIC, an aerial drone by SCR, and the other the LAUV, a submarine drone by Oceanscan. The toxic spill was simulated using substances that have similar behavioural properties to hydrocarbons but are non-polluting.

The aerial drone was equipped with RGB and infrared cameras, whose images were
analyzed using artificial intelligence. The moment an anomaly is detected on the water
surface, the ROBORDER surveillance system would issue an alert which indicates the
exact position of the drone.

The unmanned submarine would then be dispatched to the area to confirm the presence of an unnatural substance using its onboard fluorimeter.

The entire operation was directed from a central command and control unit developed
by everis which received all information concerning system positions, sensor data and
alerts generated. One of the main challenges for the ROBORDER project is to
integrate a large volume of heterogeneous data from different sources and provide
cohesive, accurate information to authorities.

It was the first test carried out within the framework of the ROBORDER project, which
is scheduled for new exercises in other European scenarios throughout 2021 aimed at
testing and perfecting a global border security solution.


ROBORDER is an H2020 project which aims to develop a fully-functional autonomous
border surveillance system with unmanned mobile robots including aerial, water and
ground vehicles which incorporate multimodal sensors. The resulting global border
security solution, among other applications, will improve the identification and
monitoring of illegal activities, collaborate with anti-drug and anti-smuggling operations
or improve search and rescue operations.

The project is coordinated by the Center for Research and Technology-Hellas
(CERTH), and its consortium includes various technology providers and border
authorities across Europe.