Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header



Project Context and Objectives:
To protect citizens from crime, violence and terrorism, it is sometimes necessary to stop the non‐cooperative vehicles, which is often a dangerous task. R&D of protective technologies is needed to mitigate the risk to citizens from such vehicles and to avoid unintended results from traditional interception measures.
AEROCEPTOR aims to explore “new style” interceptions to minimise the risk associated with those unintended results.
Thus, the main objective of AEROCEPTOR project is to develop an innovative concept of operation to control, slow down and stop, remotely and safely, non‐cooperative vehicles in both land and sea scenarios, by means of Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS). These scenarios will be developed taking into full consideration the safety, ethical, legal and human rights aspects, which are an integral part of the project.
AEROCEPTOR aims at this objective by the means of:
• Ensuring the impossibility of misuse of the new technology, guaranteeing that the new developed means will be secure.
• Offering a cost effective solution, using Commercially‐Off‐The‐Shelf (COTS) components and ensuring modularity / standardisation, in order to minimise the industrialisation and operational costs.
• Following the innovative system engineering approach to the required technology R&D.
• Promoting a series of Workshops where the inputs and collaboration of the End Users and Stakeholders will validate the project activities and results.

Why a RPAS?
• High security level and low error rate. Combine human decision making with automated operation.
• Quickly deployable and all‐weather 24/7 operation, increasing efficiency and effectiveness of interception operations.
• Offers a cost‐effective and environmentally friendlier solution due to reduced weight and lower fuel consumption.
• The preliminary AEROCEPTOR solution (at this stage of the project) offers a system composed by one (or several) unmanned helicopters equipped with monitoring means (optical and infrared) and several other payloads that will perform the detention of the non cooperative ground/maritime vehicles. More information can be found at the project website

Project Results:
The main objective of the project is to develop a new concept of operation to remotely control, slow and stop non-cooperative vehicles at distance in both land and sea scenarios by means of RPAS. RPAS are a subset of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) in which the Remote Pilot has continuous overriding capabilities of the automatic functions. This subset is the one that ICAO (International Civil Aviation organization) considers into their framework to someday allow its seamless integration into non segregated airspace. Aeroceptor is therefore focusing this subset.
To fulfill the project objetives, different technological objectives are planned in each of the following RTD areas:
1. Payloads: Payload or “P/L” means, in aeronautical jargon, the equipment being installed onboard the aircraft). RPAS payloads will be the equipment performing the control and stop operations.
2. RPAS platform definition: Study of commercially available platforms will be undertaken taking into account such payloads. It will be studied what modifications could adapt them to host required pay loads and carry out suitable performances. Features such as quick deployment, high endurance, and high tracking performances will be taken into account as key enablers. Relay RPAS will also be analyzed. Special attention will be paid to technology standardization and validation regarding hardware, platforms, payloads integrations and procedures.
3. RPAS flight control and cooperative flight. This is the most ambitious part of the technological breakthrough of the RPAS side of AEROCEPTOR project. Research and development on a flight control system (computer onboard the air vehicle) will allow AEROCEPTOR system to be able to perform its operations.
4. RPAS overall system definition: Data Links and Remote Pilot Stations (RPS)
5. Transversal activities. Ensuring that top level requirements are considered within all the parts of the project.
6. Dissemination and implementation activities.

Regarding the second twelve months of the project, significant progress has been achieved in:
1. Scenarios.
In the framework of WP1, all objectives have been achieved:
• D.1.1: Mission and scenario definition.
• D 1.2: Operational and Structural Obstacles.
• D.1.3: RPAS and Payload Operational Requirements where requirements arising form previous tasks are gathered in a comprehensive document
The task is complete and delivered.
Only D.1.3 will be updated and resubmitted at the end of the project, with all the requirements arisen up to then.

2. Payloads.
In the framework of WP2, next objectives have been achieved:
o Dissuasion / coercion payload interface document D.2.2.3
o Dissuasion / coercion payload prototype validator. D.2.2.4
o Monitoring payload prototype validator. D.2.3.1
o Control and aiming system prototype validator. D.2.4.1

3. RPAS definition
o Analysis and assessment of available D/L suitable for RPAS civilian applications. D.3.2.1
o SW prototype for validation tests. D.3.4.1

4. Transversal activities
In the framework of WP6, next objectives have been achieved:
o Overview of relevant approaches to deterrence/dissuasion methods from a multi-/cross-disciplinary point of view and addressing of citizen acceptance aspects. Main results included in D6.11.
o Assessment of the present applicable standards related to the operation of RPAS, in order to identify key issues and provide a set of requirements. D6.21
o Preliminary System Safety Assessment at airspace level. D.6.3.1
o Certification has significantly progressed during the second period and the related deliverable D6.34 is near completion.

5. Management activities
In the framework of WP8, next objective has been achieved:
o 12 month Progress Report completion. D.8.5

6. Dissemination and implementation activities.
In the framework of WP7, next objective has been achieved:
o Workshop WS2 celebration and Workshop WS2 report. D.7.2.4

Potential Impact:
AEROCEPTOR approaches the problem of non-cooperative vehicles taking into account two different vehicle categories. One is ground vehicles such as motorbikes, cars and trucks, while the other group is marine boats like speedboats for example. Some of solutions offered by AEROCEPTOR will be potentially applied in both of the categories (ground and sea vehicles) while some are dedicated only to a single category of vehicles. These means of transport differ one from another as much as the situations where law enforcement agents usually encounter them. While speedboats are in most cases used by organized crime groups for border crossing transport of illegal immigrants or drugs and weapons smuggling, non-cooperative ground vehicle situations can be met in a number of scenarios. These scenarios embrace situations ranging from a routine traffic control attempts, stolen or hijacked car chases, crime scene escapes and the most difficult ones, the complicated and dangerous hostage situations. Each of these scenarios requires a different operative approach due to factors like drivers’ behaviors, number and intention of passengers, pace of the action or theater of operations, etc. However, there is a common denominator: law enforcement officers always seek for means to perform the stop and arrest procedures in the safest way both for themselves, for the surrounding people and for the offenders. This is exactly where AEROCEPTOR project`s solutions would like to feet in.
So, aiming at solving daily problems of law enforcement authorities for external control of non-cooperative vehicles in such various scenarios, this project is intended to provide them with innovative supplementary means. As previously explained, the proposed AEROCEPTOR system will allow authorities to remotely control, slow and stop non-cooperative vehicles at distance, in both land and sea scenarios by means of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) and several systems installed onboard.
Some of the research work in the project could indirectly involve dual use for terrorist applications. These issues will be adequately dealt with in the framework of WP6.
However, during the project execution, the Consortium will develop and apply a procedure for security scrutiny of deliverables from the security point of view prior to any demonstration/publication. This includes also an assessment of potential dual-use issues and recommendations for their management. Related work will be performed in WP 6 (especially WP6.1) as a continuous process all over the lifetime of the project, making full use of the end-user advisory group.

List of Websites: