Safety and security in port areas represent a significant concern for the European Union, which boasts nearly 1000 ports within its territory. Funded by the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) under the European H2020 program, the PASSport project was initiated to develop a comprehensive port surveillance solution utilizing both aerial and underwater drones. In this context, M3 SYSTEMS participated in a demonstration campaign at the Port of Le Havre, dedicated to preventing and countering suspicious vessels approaching the port area.
So, what exactly is the PASSport project?
The PASSport project (Operational Platform Managing a Fleet of Semi-Autonomous Drones Exploiting High Precision and GNSS Authentication) aims to qualify a comprehensive port area surveillance solution to enhance safety and security. This extensive project involves 7 European countries and 24 consortium members.
This project emerged from Directive 2005/65/EC, which requires enhancing port surveillance capabilities to achieve a high and uniform level of safety and security across Europe’s 1000 ports.
The PASSport project addresses various case studies related to the safety and security of assets and individuals, each of which is subject to a campaign and demonstration in a European port:
- Pollution monitoring in Szczecin, Poland (September 2022)
- Electronic navigation management in Valencia, Spain (October 2023)
- Infrastructure protection in Hamburg, Germany (June 2023)
- Prevention of suspicious and non-cooperative vessels approaching port areas in Le Havre (September 2023)
- Submarine threat surveillance in Ravenna, Italy (October 2023)
The Involvement of M3 Systems Belgium and BOREAL
The Port of Le Havre campaign aims to showcase the utility of satellite positioning and Galileo services in safeguarding against suspicious vessels approaching the port area. Specifically, the objective is to demonstrate how a fleet of drones, such as the fixed-wing BOREAL drone, using GNSS positioning, can contribute, through the PASSport platform, to provide a comprehensive and augmented set of information to support surveillance and activities in the vicinity of the port. In particular, the geolocation of images sent by the drones enables a swift response from the port’s security services.
As a result, the teams from M3 Systems Belgium and BOREAL (The Mistral Group emphasizes an approach focused on integrating and leveraging the skills of its members, creating strong synergies and added value in the implementation of its projects) successfully operated over the English Channel, at the entrance to the Port of Le Havre, during a three-day campaign and demonstration. They were able to send georeferenced videos of vessels at the port’s request and conduct surveillance of a high-speed boat acting as a target.