Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Border Security: autonomous systems and control systems

Topic identifier: SEC-20-BES-2016
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: IA Innovation action
Opening date:
15 March 2016
Deadline: 25 August 2016 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Low levels of situational awareness on the EU borders, high at sea and on unpopulated or scarcely populated land areas, are important factors of cost of border surveillance. This could improve if the different prototypes of unmanned vehicles tested today to perform automatically a very limited set of functions and routines could be transformed into autonomous, long-enduring agents able to operate in complex maritime and land environments.

Current border control systems involve a wide range of heterogeneous assets – manned and unmanned – to survey from air, surface (land and sea) and underwater. Similarly the objects of their surveillance may be vessels, land vehicles, aircrafts, and underwater vehicles used, for instance, for smuggling and trafficking. Only enhanced command and control systems using advanced 3D computer graphics technology may allow to represent accurately the position of surveillance assets – including autonomous agents – and external objects in such complex environments.


The proposed action should cover one of the following sub-topics:

Sub-topic: 1.Autonomous surveillance

Autonomous agents should be adaptable: in order to deal, where applicable, with extreme and diverse weather and sea condition, including in the Artic region; interconnected: interoperable and capable of exchanging information among themselves and with the system's ground segment; tele-operable from the ground.

They should support missions ranging from surveillance to detection of marine pollution incidents, and including early identification and tracking of illegal activities and illegal communication.

They should operate as single units, but also in homogeneous or heterogeneous groups i.e. mixing aerostats, aerial vehicles with fix, rotary wings (or tilt-rotor), unmanned surface vehicles (USV), unmanned under-surface vehicles (UUSV), unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) with different types of sensor and communication suites on board, customized according to operational and environmental needs and addressing cross-cueing.

Autonomous agents should exchange information at tactical level and interface with each other and with command and control systems as they exist, today, at different levels.

Sub-topic: 2.Enhanced command and control systems for the surveillance of borders in a 3D environment Autonomous surveillance

Enhanced command and control systems should integrate:

  • air surveillance technologies (including radar technologies for the detection of low flying aircrafts);
  • coastal and underwater surveillance technologies (including coastal radar, maritime patrol aircraft (MPA), light patrol aircrafts, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), Patrol Vessels, UUV, etc.);
  • ground surveillance technologies (including UGV);
  • satellite-based services;
  • maritime information services;
  • 3D cartography and bathymetry servers;
  • 3D modelling of situational picture based on 3D computers graphics engines;
  • augmented reality technologies;
  • mobile devices and handsets such as tablets and smartphones.

The participation of SMEs is strongly encouraged.

In line with the EU's strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation[1] international cooperation is encouraged, and in particular with international research partners involved in ongoing discussions and workshops, with the European Commission. Legal entities established in countries not listed in General Annex A and international organisations will be eligible for funding only when the Commission deems participation of the entity essential for carrying out the action.

The outcome of the proposal is expected to lead to development up to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 or7; please see part G of the General Annexes.

Indicative budget: The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of € 8million would allow for this topic to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:
  • Further development of the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR);
  • Provision of more information that may be exchanged across sectors and borders through the Common Information Sharing Environment (CISE);
  • New technologies for autonomous surveillance systems;
  • Improved, cost-effective and efficient unmanned platforms for border surveillance systems, and the detection of marine pollution incidents;
  • Adaptation of long-tested technologies to the specific requirements of borders control area;
  • Agents and command and control systems interoperable with existing, multi-country European infrastructure.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

International cooperation


Topic conditions and documents

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.

  1. List of countries and applicable rules for funding: described in part A of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.
    Note also that a number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects (follow the links to China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan).

  2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme, with the following exceptions: Practitioners from various disciplines, including Border guard authorities from at least 5 EU or Schengen Member States must be beneficiaries of the grant agreement and should be directly involved in the carrying out of the tasks foreseen in the grant.

    Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to Part B of the standard proposal template.

  3. Evaluation

    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold: described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.

    3.2 Submission and evaluation process: Guide to the submission and evaluation process

  4. Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement:

    Information on the outcome of single-stage evaluation: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

  5. Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms for the type(s) of action(s) under this topic:

    Innovation Action:

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Standard proposal template
    Standard evaluation form
    H2020 General MGA -Multi-Beneficiary
    Annotated Grant Agreement

  6. Additional provisions:

    Horizon 2020 budget flexibility

    Classified information

    Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply.

    Financial support to Third Parties – where a topic description foresees financial support to Third Parties, these provisions apply.

  7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions, and proposals must refer to measures envisaged. Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

  8. Additional documents

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Innovation in SMEs
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Secure societies – protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Fast Track to Innovation Pilot
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: General Annexes
    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 - Regulation of Establishment
    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme


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