Frontex, the European Border, and Coast Guard Agency has announced the recipients of its Innovative Prize Award Contest focused on the Detection of Low-Flying Objects (LFOs). This pioneering contest underscores Frontex’s dedication to nurturing technological innovation in border security, particularly in response to challenges posed by the growing use of drones at EU borders for criminal activities.

“The increasing use of drones and other low-flying objects at our borders is not just a challenge; it’s a call to action. And at Frontex, we’re not just observing this trend; we’re actively responding with advanced and innovative solutions. The Prize Award Contest is a clear demonstration of our commitment to safeguarding Europe’s borders. Our proactive approach today is vital in shaping a safer and more secure Europe of tomorrow,” said Frontex Executive Director Hans Leijtens.

“The innovations we recognize today are not just technical solutions. They embody our ethos of combining efficiency with responsibility, ensuring that our border management strategies are as humane as they are effective,” he added.

After a rigorous series of operational trials, DAT-CON secured the top prize of EUR 250,000, Teledyne FLIR earned the second prize of EUR 200,000, and Marduk Technologies was awarded the third prize of EUR 150,000. Each winner demonstrated remarkable ingenuity in developing technologies that address the critical need for improved surveillance and detection of Low-Flying Objects (LFOs).

The operational trials, held at Ridali Airfield in Estonia from September 16 to October 6, 2023, marked the conclusive phase of the contest. In this final stage, the three finalists, previously selected in Phase 2, were tasked with deploying and operating their technologies in dynamic, real-world simulations. These rigorous tests, covering a range of LFO threats and tactics, challenged the finalists to push the boundaries of innovation in low-level airspace surveillance.

Innovation Awards Ceremony

The recipients of the Prize Award Contest for Low-Flying Objects were revealed during the Frontex Innovation Awards ceremony. Beyond being a moment of acknowledgment for the groundbreaking work of the winners, this ceremony, integral to Frontex’s broader innovation initiatives, underscored the agency’s proactive role in shaping the future of border management.

Additionally, the ceremony unveiled the final selection of four projects to receive grants under the Research Grants Programme. These grants, constituting part of the Frontex Research Grants Programme, offer a total of EUR 240,000 in funding to support technological research aligned with Frontex’s strategic priorities and technology development goals.

Frontex Low-Flying Objects Award Contest Information

Introduced one year ago, the Frontex Prize Award Contest exemplifies the agency’s proactive stance in promoting state-of-the-art technological solutions. The objective was to stimulate the development of cost-effective, scalable, and integrated capabilities for detecting, tracking, and identifying Low-Flying Objects (LFOs), a critical aspect in safeguarding the European Union (EU) borders.

This contest is an integral component of Frontex’s broader strategy to combat emerging threats at EU borders, particularly addressing the misuse of drones. By championing cutting-edge solutions, Frontex tackles current challenges and lays the groundwork for the future of border security, ensuring the safety and integrity of EU borders.

Through initiatives like the Prize Award Contest, Frontex establishes itself as a frontrunner in border security technologies. The agency remains committed to advancing solutions that are effective in addressing today’s challenges and adaptable to the evolving demands of border security.

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