FRONTEX Innovates in Border Control and Coastal Security Amid COVID-19

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has been ravaging the tourism, hospitality, transportation, and many other sectors worldwide, the European Border Control and Coast Guard Agency FRONTEX has been championing new and innovative methods to help keep European and Schengen borders secure.

In an announcement published by FRONTEX on 11 August 2020, the agency stated that they had been innovating and testing new technologies to secure external European and Schengen borders.

The new technologies include wearable technology backed by artificial intelligence, 3D iris and facial recognition technology, digital identities based on blockchain technology, and accurate handheld devices for agents in the field.

According to the FRONTEX statement, the agency now has “Intuitive user interfaces and wearables supported by Artificial Intelligence and with Augmented Reality capabilities, 3D facial and iris verification technology for “real-on-the-move” border crossing experience, digital identity based on blockchain technology, highly accurate and cost effective handheld devices for drug and precursors detection on the field – these are some of the projects we’re helping to develop as part of the Horizon Framework Programme for Research and Innovation,” the statement reads.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put many industries on hold for months as of the writing of this article, however, FRONTEX has actually ramped up their efforts to innovate and create new security technologies. The agency has been working together with the Directorate-General and Home Affairs of the European Union.

“Despite the difficulties associated with the COVID pandemic, we’ve been actively involved in pushing forward these projects in an effort to enhance technological capabilities critical for border security. Together with the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Union (DG HOME) and Executive Research Agency (REA), Frontex has been monitoring the progress of selected EU research projects that soon could lead to important breakthroughs in the area of border security,” the announcement reads.

FRONTEX currently has 7 ongoing projects under its watch that are designed to address a wide spectrum of issues with border and coastal security including unmanned platforms, document fraud detection, situational awareness, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, integrated systems, and identification of drugs and their precursors.

These projects are: ANDROMEDA, ARESIBO, BorderSens, COMPASS2020, D4FLY, MIRROR, and PROJECTIONS.

FRONTEX strives to achieve many goals, the main one being “to bring border and coast guard and research and innovation together to foster technological developments for border management and bring more innovation into the operational environment,” according to the announcement.

FRONTEX will continue to provide border and coastal security while continuously innovating and creating new ways to do so.

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