As national regulators are increasingly opening up the access to airspace for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), the number of RPAS operations is rising dramatically in recent years. However, one cannot be blind to the fact that besides all the advantages offered by RPAS, this new technology also brings with it some serious threats related to the safety, privacy and security of the citizens. A regulatory framework for managing the RPAS operations can only be credible if there is a means of policing the access to airspace, which means that it must be possible to detect illegal operations. The European Commission noted this discrepancy between on one hand strict rules for access to airspace and on the other hand a poor capability to detect illegal operations. Therefore, they decided to fund the SafeShore project, which focuses on the detection of threat agents like RPAS in a marine border surveillance scenario. The main objective of the SafeShore project is to cover existing gaps in coastal border surveillance, increasing internal security by preventing cross-border crime such as trafficking in human beings and the smuggling of drugs. It is designed to be integrated with existing systems and create a continuous detection line along the border. One of the treats to the maritime coast are small RPAS, which can carry explosives, or which can be used for smuggling drugs, boats and human intruders on the sea shore. Mini-RPAS can be launched from maritime platforms such as yachts. Their low cost and very small signature makes them a favorite platform for smugglers and terrorists. The mini-RPAS Radar Cross Section is too small to be detected by the regular coastal radars, which is where SafeShore comes in.
The Kick-Off meeting of the SafeShore Project is taking place at the Royal Military Academy in Brussels, Belgium on 20 & 21 June 2016, back-to-back with the RPAS 2016 conference on 22 & 23 June 2016 at the same location.