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Through-foliage detection, including in the outermost regions of the EU

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FOLDOUT (Through-foliage detection, including in the outermost regions of the EU)

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2019-12-31

The FOLDOUT platform will assist border guards by providing prompt detection of illegal activity at borders and trace the movement and routes prior to arrival in border areas. FOLDOUT will build a system that combines various sensors and technologies and intelligently fuses these into an effective and robust intelligent detection platform. FOLDOUT will make the tasks of Border Guards simpler and faster by combining events from various sensors to give a complete situation threat assessment combined with suggested reaction scenarios. With a two year pilot in Bulgaria and demonstrators in Greece, Finland and French Guiana, FOLDOUT will provide fundamental enhancements in the domain of border surveillance and improved search & rescue scenarios.

The technical concept of FOLDOUT is based on the combination of several sensor technologies on the ground and on special, high rising platforms with data fusion algorithms into a single, seamlessly integrated system. This concept allows for the real-time detection of critical events (e.g. illegal cross border activities, lost persons) even under dense foliage. The alarms are presented to border guard operators in a common operational picture in a unified data presentation for all sensors. To penetrate the foliage to a certain extend under day and night conditions, long range, multi-spectral, LIDAR and RADAR sensors are used. For the surveillance of large border areas stratospheric platforms are employed to yield unobstructed field-of-view and unprecedented detection range for the sensors they carry. Ground EM (radio transmitter detection), acoustic and seismic (movement) detectors will deliver complementary data where the vegetation is too dense to penetrate. The activities at the fringe of the foliage, such as suspicious car traffic, are monitored by conventional ground-based cameras and EOS sensors completed by satellite SAR data. Unmanned vehicles will be employed on demand to scan areas where sensor coverage is too low or data received are ambiguous. All the different sensors are integrated in a common
system and data model to provide information on different aspects and in a different light spectrum or modality or even on a different time resolution or scale. Data processing algorithms based on machine learning will therefore be used to fuse and reliably interpret all data to derive alarms on the presence of persons or critical situations in the surveilled area. Reasoning methods will be used to filter unusual from usual behavior in the surveillance area. To reduce operator workload and improve situational awareness sensor information and alarms are uniformly presented to the operator on a command and control software tool. The tool will provide a map-based graphic user interface with a standardised symbology to observe, track and react with maximum efficiency.
The main achievements in the first reporting period can be summarized as follows:
- End-users requirements and scenarios definition: End user requirements have been established by relevant stakeholders (e.g. border guards) for through foliage detection and validated through “living-labs”. Specific scenarios were defined, reflecting the experience at the different EU borders represented in FOLDOUT: Bulgaria, Finland, French Guiana, Greece and Lithuania.
- Early demonstrator: sensors to reproduce state-of-the-art technologies available at the borders have been integrated into the Early demonstrator and evaluated at a selected testing site in Bulgaria. An intra-communication framework between sensors, algorithms and visualization modules have also been tested in the Early demonstrator, as well as a multi sensor fusion algorithm as a proof of concept to show how fusion improves detection accuracy and decreases false alarms.
- Baseline dataset: a dataset has been acquired from the sensors integrated in the Early demonstrator. The data-set will be used to evaluate the Early demonstrator system and will serve as baseline upon which new technology and improvements in FOLDOUT will be compared. The dataset is based on the definition of scenario scripts and of categorical performance indicators as from the “Early Demonstrator Evaluation” internal document.
- Sensor, software, algorithmics are under development to face the challenges of interoperability, difficult operational outdoor environments especially under foliage detection and situational awareness. The details are reported in the following sections with reference to each single project objective.
- Testing sites: the cooperation and exchange between technical partners and end-users have been intense. Several test-sites have been visited already in the first period to better understand current challenges at the borders. Site visits to the Bulgaria, Finnish and Greek border took place with first test data acquisitions.
Dissemination & Communication: FOLDOUT has already been presented at 7 EU/International security events and dissemination material in the form of website, posters, flyers, videos produced and distributed.
Ethical principles and legal requirements were established to guide both the project research and its technological development activities.
In summary, FOLDOUT has achieved innovation and promising new concepts that are detailed in the relevant evaluation reports.
The main result of FOLDOUT is to develop, test and demonstrate a system and solution to detect and locate people and vehicles operating under the coverage of trees and other foliage over large areas. FOLDOUT will:
• Develop requirements closely together with the end users, e.g. border guards;
• Improve sensor technologies with innovative approaches specifically adapted to through foliage detection scenarios,functioning at day as well as night time and in harsh environment;
• Improve situational awareness through fusion of advanced aerial and space-based sensor platforms with ground based sensors into one surveillance solution;
• Demonstrate the effectiveness of the FOLDOUT concept in realistic operational scenarios;
• Provide a planning tool for decision makers to configure a surveillance system for the specific requirements of a target deployment area;
• Create a scientific/industrial development community and putting at their disposal a set of reference data, which will be used to tune and assess the analytics performance.
FOLDOUT Overview