Frontex launches prize award contest on detection of low-flying objects

On 19 December, Frontex launched a prize award contest on the detection of low-flying objects (aerial platforms that operate in low-level airspace, from piloted ultralight and conventional aircraft to remotely piloted aircraft systems).

The goal of the contest is provide an incentive to industry to develop innovative concepts and technological solutions for cost-efficient, scalable, and integrated operational capabilities and reward the best performing technological solutions. We are also aiming at obtaining insights on how these solutions may support a proof-of-concept validation of what an effective multi-layered, multi-sensor surveillance model might be for the detection of low flying objects at EU borders.

The participants are expected to propose a technological solution that addresses the main challenge of the contest:

Considering the existing technological solutions available in the market (or those currently under development) and their potential combination in a multi-layeredmulti-sensor model, how can low flying objects be effectively detectedtracked, and identified at a European land border in a cost-efficientscalable, and integrated way?

The solution should include at least three systems using a combination of both active and passive detection capabilities (e.g. RF monitoring, camera, and radar).  Any other type of technical equipment, capability or service offered in the application will be assessed positively, as additional features may enrich the proposal if relevant to the scope of this initiative. The final version of the solution presented during the operational trials must have an appropriate level of technological maturity (TRL 6 or above).

The Prize Award Contest will be organized in three distinct phases.

Phase 1: Call for Prizes – Submission of Proposals

In this phase, the participants submit a white paper presenting the concept, stating main assumptions, capabilities, and limitations, and describing how the proposed solution will address the technical and operational challenges of detecting low flying objects at EU’s borders.

Phase 2 – Technical Capacity Evaluation

In this phase, the participants submit a technical document, where they provide a detailed and comprehensive overview of the technical and operational capabilities and limitations, specifications, and overall architecture of the proposed solution. This document presents either a working concept, prototype or fully-fledged solution.

The selected participants will do a presentation for Frontex’s representatives in the agency’s premises. They will present the project team, their concept and the proposed technological solution(s) (showcasing the solutions’ hardware and software).

Phase 3 – Operational Trials

In this phase, the participants will prepare, deploy, and operate their proposed technological solutions during a three-week operational trial in a relevant operational environment in an EU Member State. The participants will be informed about the choice of the hosting country immediately after the evaluation of phase 2.

The total prize pool amounts to EUR 950 000.

  • In phase 1, prizes of EUR 10 000 will be awarded to a maximum of ten (10) best ranked proposals.
  • In phase 2, prizes of EUR 50 000 will be awarded to a maximum of five (5) best ranked presentations of technical capacity.
  • In phase 3, three (3) grand prizes of EUR 250 000EUR 200 000 and EUR 150 000 will be awarded.

The Prize Award Contest welcomes proposals from all types of legal entities established in one of the EU Member States, including overseas countries and territories.

Proposals can be submitted by mono-beneficiary (single application) or by consortium (joint application).

Proposals can be submitted until Thursday, 15 February 2023 at 12:00 CET (Warsaw time)

More information on the prize contest can be found here.