Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

CLOSEYE — Result In Brief

Project ID: 313184
Funded under: FP7-SECURITY
Country: Spain
Domain: Space

A new approach to validate solutions for enhanced border surveillance

A first-of-its-kind EU-funded project has contributed to the pre-operational validation (POV) of maritime border surveillance tools. The work targeted a change in the orientation of security R&D programmes whereby end users’ needs are incorporated to steer the innovation process.
A new approach to validate solutions for enhanced border surveillance
The CLOSEYE (Collaborative evaluation of border surveillance technologies in maritime environment by pre-operational validation of innovative solutions) project was the first security research project to employ the POV approach, as backed by the European Commission and the FRONTEX Agency.

‘The goal of the CLOSEYE project was not to promote the direct purchase of surveillance systems, but to validate future solutions by means of experimentation with innovative proposals in a real operational environment,’ says Mr José Manuel Santiago, project coordinator. This approach aligned with guidance provided by the EUROSUR Regulation. ‘To do so, we experimented with innovative proposals in a real operational environment and followed a service contracting approach.’

Project partners contemplated the POV cycle in an innovative way. The goal was to define real needs, identify mature solutions, define new validation schemes, and advance guidelines for defining reference performance levels and future flexible public procurement schemes. ‘Bringing together the technical and the operational views is how CLOSEYE intended to increase market visibility and help bring innovation to the market,’ Mr Santiago explains.

Validation through real operational scenarios

So that potential solutions are valid for other users and applications, selecting appropriate representative scenarios was crucial. Scenario definition concentrated on areas where FRONTEX coordinates joint operations: INDALO for an Alboran Sea scenario and TRITÓN for a central Mediterranean scenario. ‘These were the main reference for the use of common surveillance tools with a view to their collaborative utilisation between Member States,’ notes Mr Santiago.

Industry proposed two innovative solutions for each area, targeting increased situational awareness and improving the reaction capability of authorities surveying the EU’s external borders. For both scenarios, CLOSEYE conducted tests to assess the technical performance of each solution in a controlled environment which were then validated in real operational scenarios.

A comprehensive approach for safer borders

CLOSEYE succeeded in defining, developing and integrating solutions for the detection, identification and tracking of small non-collaborative vessels at the EU’s southern maritime border. Innovative solutions encompassing platforms, sensors and ICT help extend the range of cost-effective surveillance, enhance the discrimination of vessel traffic and support the decision-making process. They also contribute to improved situational awareness and the tactical situational picture at coordination centres, the sharing of real-time information between different bodies and faster reaction times thanks to better information.

While the success of maritime surveillance operations is very much linked to available technical capacities, the value of CLOSEYE extends beyond the technical, tackling innovation from different perspectives, including operational, contractual and financial. Improving cooperation mechanisms between industry and users, the overall approach and POV cycle advanced during this project increases market visibility and helps bring innovation to the market. ‘The POV model has empowered the users to define future systems according to real needs and has strengthened the contribution of public authorities to the innovation cycle,’ Mr Santiago concludes.

CLOSEYE marked a first in promoting innovative procurement schemes applied to border surveillance. The work has delivered several innovations bringing into play novel systems and devices for protecting Europe’s frontiers. By following the cycle initiated by the project, stakeholders both contribute to the POV of maritime border surveillance tools and benefit from the outcomes. The POV approach also offers public buyers the flexibility they need to manage risks associated with investment in innovation.

Keywords

Border surveillance, pre-operational validation, maritime, security, CLOSEYE, EUROSUR
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