Illegal incursions, border crossing and illegal entry are causing tremendous social and economic problems for European Union member states, especially Mediterranean countries with the EU’s Southern Maritime Borders. The strengthening of border security management for immigration control and fight against cross‐border crime has been identified as one of the key objectives in the EU Internal Security Strategy.

The EU faces a major problem with control of its border, due to its length and because it is partially on land and partially over sea, posing a severe challenge to the organisations in charge of the border control (National authorities and transnational organisation such the FRONTEX agency)

Current Problem

The sheer scale and remoteness of some of the border areas (on land and over sea) presents a complex challenge for national authorities. This challenge is intensified due to the insufficient resources that are available to cope with such tasks and achieve the desired levels of effectiveness.

Currently, the legacy sensors and communications systems developed for military applications are not optimised for border monitoring and their interoperability with civil standards is limited. There is an urgent need for the development and integration of UAV based solutions that enable the use of sensor networks with associated intelligent data analysis capabilities, with greater costbenefit ratio, reliability, and endurance for enhancing border security.


SUNNY is to develop and integrate novel and comprehensive solutions for intelligent surveillance of borders (land and sea) for detecting crossing and illegal entry using a heterogeneous network of sensors carried by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The developed SUNNY system will provide both large and focused capability for effective border surveillance, that is, to be able to monitor large maritime or terrestrial border area and to detect and track targets and intended incursions.


The project proposes to develop and integrate airborne sensors to form a two‐tier sensor network. The first‐tier sensors, carried by vertical take‐off and landing autonomous UAVs, are used to patrol large border areas to detect suspicious targets and provide global situation awareness. Fed with the information collected by the first‐tier sensors, the second. tier sensors will be deployed to provide more focused surveillance capability by tracking the targets and collecting further evidence for more accurate target recognition and threat evaluation. The second‐tier sensors have the capability to track, recognise and identify suspicious targets. The second tier can operate following two concepts: the first implies an autonomous coordination among the small UAVs, equipped with similar sensors, focused to optimise area coverage. The second is based on coordinated sensing, where the exploitation of data collected by different sensors carried by the UAV enables to improve the monitoring effectiveness without requiring the use of several sensors on the same UAV.


The use of UAVs in the framework of EUROSUR is excluded for the time being. Their potential future use depends on a number of pre-conditions, such as their full integration into civil/non-segregated airspace (planned for 2016 at the earliest) and further operational testing, showing that this technology is at least as cost-effective and efficient as manned surveillance planes (which currently is not the case). This means that any assessment whether the results of the FP7 SUNNY project can be used for border surveillance respectively in the framework of EUROSUR can only be carried out after the SUNNY project has been finished in 2017.

Project Timeline

Milestones and Deliverables

  • Milestones
  • 2014
  • User requirements

    August - Month 8

  • System specification and architecture

    December - Month 12

  • 2015
  • Second raft specification and architecture, initial sensor, communication link and data processing

    May - Month 17

  • Mission Management Campaign and Second Data Sets Campaign and Final System Specification and Architecture

    December - Month 24

  • 2016
  • First implementation results from sensors

    February - Month 26

  • Second implementation results

    May - Month 29

  • UAV platforms final configurations and communications solutions

    August - Month 32

  • First trials and evaluation

    October - Month 34

  • Final demonstration

    December - Month 36

  • 2017
  • Deliverables
  • WP1 - User requirements

    The objectives of this work package are:

    1. To select the scenarios relevant for the project from the discussion with end users and from the analysis of information generated in other completed or on-going projects and initiatives.
    2. To identify user requirements associated to the monitoring operations in such scenarios.
    3. To analysis existing rules and regulations to derive the requirements related to the EU privacy laws.
    4. To derive the interoperability requirements from the discussion with end users and from the analysis of information generated in other completed or on-going projects and initiatives.
  • WP2 - System specification and architecture

    The objectives of this work package are:

    1. To analyse the current state-of-the-art of ISR systems, equipments, standards and protocols.
    2. To define a novel and effective surveillance architecture that comply with the operational requirements.
    3. Implement the system architecture in the simulation environment.
    4. To derive system requirements for the overall system and for the key subsystems that will be developed in SUNNY project.
  • WP3 - Innovative sensing

    The objectives of this work package are:

    1. To design, production and performance evaluation of the innovative sensors considered in SUNNY: Infrared Single Band, Infrared Dual Band, Nyperspectral and Radar.
    2. To design, implementation and performance evaluation of the software that implement the sensor alignment and the data fusion of developed sensors and other standard image cameras (RGB and HDR).
    3. To adapt the UAV control systems to provide innovative active sensing functionalities
  • WP4 - Data processing, analysis and visualisation

    This work package focuses on the sensory data processing analysis and visualization in order to provide automated, robust, real time border intrusion detection and detailed target information leading to improved situation awareness. Multi-sensory data processing is performed both on-board in real time and also integrated with off-board analysis and learning techniques allowing advanced multi-target tracking and classification. Visualization of global airborne sensor network data analysis is also performed capturing the multiple abstraction layers of information and the multiple UAV and user operational requirements.

  • WP5 - Adapted communication and data link

    The objectives of this work package are:

    1. The analysis of the communication requirements and architecture defined in WP2.
    2. The development of the communication solutions for the UAV-UAV communication and UAV-Base Station communication.
  • WP6 - Integration and Evaluation

    The aim is to implement a low risk, best practice process in the integration on the different platforms (mini UAV, medium UAV and base station) of the sensors, datalink and data analysis and mission management software.

  • WP7 - Demonstration

    1. The deployment to the test site.
    2. The preparation of the UAV for the missions.
    3. The execution of the missions.
    4. The debriefing and compilation of the first impression report.
    5. The re-deployment from the test site.
  • WP8 - Dissemination, Exploitation and Take-Up

    The objectives of this work package are:

    1. Establishment of effective communication among the consortium partners.
    2. Effective dissemination of project results to the academic and industrial communities (also via publications and events).
    3. Direct contact for dissemination with specific international organization (e.g. Frontex) and national potentially involved institutions (i.e. Coast Guard).
    4. Identification of the applicable interoperability requirements and monitoring their implementation during the project execution.
    5. Exploitation of the SUNNY research results.
  • WP9 - Technical and Quality management

    This work package covers the technical management of the project. WP9 will supervise the completion of all deliverables according to technical and quality specifications set in the DoW and the Quality Plan.

  • WP10 - Project Management

    This work package covers the management of the project. WP9 will supervise the completion of all deliverables in time and within budget.


BMT Group

BMT is an international contract research and technology organisation created in 1985 through the merging of the National Maritime Institute (NMI) and the British Ship Research Association (BSRA).

BMT will play a key role in the impact of SUNNY results and outcomes by leading WP9 Project Management and various WP8 Dissemination and Exploitation and Take‐Up sub‐tasks. BMT will also contribute in WP1, 2, 4 namely on scenario specifications, ethical dimension and decision fusion.


MetaSensing (META)

MetaSensing is a Dutch company producing and operating Synthetic aperture Radar (SAR) sensors at high resolution. MetaSensing technology is based on more than a decade of advanced research in prominent European research institutes and universities. Meta will contribute on WP2 sub‐task Sensor Specification, mainly focusing radar sensor specifications.

Also play an important role on WP3 sub‐task Radar sensing in charge to develop a radar compatible with integration on mini UAV.



Xenics’ advanced infrared cameras feature high quality and high performance in all major IR wavelength ranges for the most demanding research applications.


Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)

As part of the federal University of London, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), founded in 1785 with roots back to 1123, is one of the largest multi‐faculty higher education institutions in London. The School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at QMUL is internationally renowned. It has been continuously at the cutting edge of Computer Science for over 40 years, being the first such department in the UK to offer degree courses in Computer Science in 1968. QMUL will lead WP1 on User Requirement. QMUL will also contribute to WP2 on global data specification, WP3 on sensor alignment and fusion, and WP4 on automated target identification and decision fusion. In addition, QMUL will be contributing to WP6, 7, 8 on integration, testing and dissemination.


Technalia (TEC)

TECNALIA is a Spanish private RTO with more 60 years of activities providing innovation in products and processes for industrial needs. TECNALIA disposes of 1500 employees, 26 labs and pilot plants, organized in 5 market divisions.

TECNALIA will contribute on most of SUNNY project WP, with emphases on WP3 Innovative Sensingm WP2 sensor specification and WP5 and 6 sub‐tasks.



INESC Porto ‐ Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering of Porto ‐ is a private non‐profit association, recognized as Public Interest Institution, and has been recently appointed as Associated Laboratory.

INESC will have active participation in SUNNY namely by: leading WP4 data processing analysis and visualization, with strong focus on the on‐board data processing. INESC will also lead sub‐task 3.5 Sensing Network from WP3 Innovative Sensing. INESC will contribute strongly on WP1 user requirements and WP 5 Adapted communication and data link and it will also be contributing on WP 6,7 on integration, demonstration and evaluation.


Technical Univ. of Crete (TUC)

The Intelligent Systems & Robotics Laboratory (IS&RL) of the Technical University of Crete (TUC) has extensive knowledge and expertise in autonomous vehicles design and prototyping.

1) User and field requirements, 2) Testing of derived technologies on small UAS and VTOLs, 3) System Integration, 4) Coordination and planning of Demos, 5) Evaluation and feedback


Ministerio da Defesa Nacional (CINAV)

CINAV is the Portuguese Navy Research Centre. It is a small research center (presently with 10 PhD and 20 MSc), located at the Portuguese Naval Academy, and it coordinates all research and development projects of the Portuguese Navy within the scientific areas involved in the SUNNY project.

CINAV has a SUNNY end‐user will contribute more on WP1 Scenario Specification and state‐of‐the‐art namely by leading WP 1.3 sub‐task System interoperability requirements. CINAV will also strongly contribute to the WP 7.1 sub‐task Demonstration Planning.


SPECIM, Spectral Imaging Ltd (SPECIM)

SPECIM, Spectral Imaging Ltd is a pioneer in hyperspectral imaging, and has been in the business for 16 years. SPECIM is the largest dedicated hyperspectral imaging company, and the business is continuously growing.

SPECIM will lead WP3 on Innovative Sensing, and particularly contribute to the development of UAV compatible hyperspectral sensors. SPECIM will also contribute to WP2 on Hyperspectral imaging specification, and WP4 on on‐board data processing. In addition, SPECIM will be contributing to WP6, 7, 8 on integration, testing and dissemination.


Alenia (ALN)

Alenia Aermacchi is the global player which leads the Finmeccanica aeronautics business by continuously increasing its ability to design, build, integrate and support complex systems for both commercial and defense markets worldwide.

Alenia is a core project partner and will contribute to all project Work packages leading WP2 System specification and architecture and taking key interests and activity in tasks and sub‐tasks related to SUNNY project Evaluation.



TTI is an SME that works in the technological forefronts of space, military, telecommunications, science, and information technology sectors. It was founded in 1996 entirely with national private capital and comprises an expanding team of more than 100 highly qualified engineers.

TTI will lead WP5 Adapted communication and data link, providing UAV‐UAV communication and will also have a contribute role on WP1,2,4,6, 7 and 8 sub‐tasks.



The Center for Security Studies (KEMEA) of the Greek Ministry of Citizen Protection has been established as the Ministry’s think tank on security policies. KEMEA is a scientific, consulting and research agency, whose purpose is to conduct theoretical and applied research and to produce studies, particularly at a strategic level, on issues concerning security policies.



Marlo originated in 1997 with a focus on transport and logistics. Lately the business activities have been extended to include security issues related to the transport and logistics sector and border control in general. Marlo’s prime responsibility is related to social and ethical issues, developing specifications for how to avoid violation of human rights etc. and introducing the concept of privacy by design into the SUNNY project


Vitrociset S.p.A (VIT)

Vitrociset designs, implements, integrates and manages electronic and IT systems in civil and military sectors for private businesses, public authorities, governmental agencies and international organisations.

The main contribution of VIT will be in data fusion and User Interface development. The partner will also contribute to WP2 System specification and architecture, WP3, sensor alignment and fusion, WP5, UAVBase station communication and will participate to the demonstration execution.


NCSR Demokritos (Institute of Informatics and Telecommunications) (NCSRD)

The National Centre for Scientific Research (NCSR) DEMOKRITOS is the biggest research centre in applied sciences and engineering in Greece and it is a self‐governing research organisation.

NCSRD will contribute to WP2 on the specifications of the overall system architecture, the communication requirements and Interoperability. It will also contribute to WP5 in the UAV to UAV and UAV to base station communications, and more specifically on the adaptation of DVB technology to the project’s needs. Additionally NCSRD will contribute to WP6, WP7 and WP8 on demonstration, testing, evaluation and dissemination.


National Interuniversity Consortium for the Telecommunications (CNIT)

CNIT (National Interuniversity Consortium for the Telecommunications) is a no‐profit organisation of 40 Italian Universities with the aim at coordinating and promoting theoretical and practical research activities with the cooperation of national and international industries, and with the aim at developing advanced training in Telecommunication and ICT areas.

CNIT will mainly contribute to WP3 on innovative radar sensing, with a focus on the study, analysis and design of the possibility of using airborne radar technology to detect illegal movements at sea. CNIT will also contribute to WP2 on system specification and architecture. Additionally CNIT will contribute to WP6, WP7 and WP8 on demonstration, testing, evaluation and dissemination.



ALTUS LSA is a Hellenic company focused in the Services Provision, Business Development and Systems Integration activities of Defense, Security and innovative technology programs.

ALTUS will lead WP6 Integration, and will contribute on most of SUNNY project WPs, with strong emphasis on subtasks of WP2 system specification, WP7 Demonstration and Evaluation and WP9 Quality Assurance.


Privacy and Security

Why Privacy is a concern to SUNNY

As the proposed SUNNY solution is heavily geared towards surveillance activities, it is of vital importance that the technology does not infringe upon citizen’s rights. For this purpose, the project will put great emphasis on evaluating and monitoring legal and ethical aspects on privacy and societal values, leading to the potential acceptability of the system.

European policies direct the adoption of security surveillance by technical standardisation, market intervention and legal norms. In particular, Article 8 of the European Human Rights Convention, the European Convention on the Automated Processing of Personal Data of the Council of Europe and the Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC) of the European Union all have an impact on use of security surveillance by private bodies. For public bodies, although security surveillance requires a legal basis of need according to the Human Rights Convention, it is not affected by the European data protection provisions and its regulation remains the realm of national member legislation. The same is true for privately operated systems without data storage capabilities (e.g. video recording).

How we will manage Privacy Concerns

Privacy concerns will be managed through the utilization of Privacy by Design (PbD) concepts. There are seven primary principles that constitute PbD:
  1. Recognition that privacy interests and concerns must be addressed proactively.
  2. Application of core principles expressing universal spheres of privacy protection.
  3. Early mitigation of privacy concerns when developing information technologies and systems throughout the entire information life cycle – end to end.
  4. Need for qualified privacy leadership and/or professional input.
  5. Integration of privacy‐enhancing technologies (PET’s).
  6. Embedding privacy in a positive‐sum manner so as to enhance both privacy and system functionality.
  7. Respect for users’ privacy.

Ethical Considerations

It is important to ensure that EU regulations and guidelines on ethics and privacy are adhered to. Therefore, all work by the SUNNY consortium, which directly involves monitoring trials and handling of data, will be vetted by a group of representatives with sufficient knowledge of security issues, to assess the sensitivity of any/all deliverables that will be set up. Should the need arise, any permissions that are required will be sought in advance of the work taking place.