Sea-border surveillance software

A team from Portsmouth University has won a €242K (£210K) grant to work on SeaBILLA, a collaborative sea-border surveillance project that will help increase the internal security of the European Union.

It is part of a €9.8m research-and-development project for homeland security that should revolutionise law enforcement along European sea borders.

The Portsmouth team will design an autonomous software program to improve the current technical performance of surveillance cameras and sensors based on satellites and unmanned aeroplanes.

The program will analyse the images taken by satellites and aircrafts and alert maritime security staff to any suspicious activity, helping them better detect unidentified sea vessels.

The team is bringing together expertise from Portsmouth University’s Department of Mathematics, Business School and School of Creative Technologies.

Dr Alessio Ishizaka, from the Portsmouth University Business School, said: ‘The easiest way to enter the European Union undetected is by sea, so it is crucial to monitor sea borders.

‘There are currently several possible levels of sea observation – including satellites, unmanned aircraft and manned aircraft –­­­­­ and we’ll need to analyse them all in order to ensure the most cost-effective and efficient methods are being deployed.

‘We will need to consider factors such as which is the best route for aircraft to take in order to cover as much area as possible and examine how weather conditions affect the data collected.’

The project is running in collaboration with 25 partner industries, enterprises, universities and research centres from 10 European countries and is funded by the European Commission.

The team will review current sea-surveillance techniques used in the English Channel, the south Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean between the Canary Islands and the Azores.

Dr Patrick Beullens from the Department of Mathematics is leading the project at Portsmouth, with support from Dr Alessio Ishizaka and Prof Ashraf Labib from the Portsmouth Business School, Dr Honghai Liu from the university’s School of Creative Technologies, and Dr Dylan Jones from the Department of Mathematics.