€ 8.2 billion worth of high value products in European supply chain every year are at risk of piracy, hijacking or theft.
A three year R&D project, part funded by the EU and concluding in May this year, will enable organisations to upgrade security on their mobile critical assets, such as trucks, trains and ships as well off-shore platforms, and help enhance the safety and security of people and cargo. ARENA (Architecture for Recognition of thraEts to mobile assets using Networks of Affordable sensors) was developed specifically to address the concerns posed by the growing threats of piracy, hijacking and theft on board mobile platforms. ARENA provides a sensor-based surveillance system concept that will provide early identification and evaluation of incoming threats using multi-sensory data analysis from sensors attached to the assets themselves.
The surveillance model robustly and autonomously detects threats to critical mobile assets in large unpredictable environments including: stationary platforms relative to the land, such as a truck or train stop; stationary platforms relative to the sea such as ships in port or oil rigs; mobile platforms relative to land such as trucks or trains in transit and finally mobile platforms relative to the sea such as ships at sea or support vessels around an oil rig.
Åsa Waern, at FOI, the Swedish Defence Research Agency and Project Co-Ordinator for ARENA commented: "According to the European Union, the theft of high value, high risk products moving through supply chains in Europe costs businesses in excess of € 8.2 billion a year.
"The threat from organized criminals is increasing and becoming more violent – ARENA is a response to this growing trend. In recent years there have been a number of incidents where terror organisations have caused disruption to mass transportation networks and other areas of critical infrastructure.
A very real threat is that terror organisations will seek to disrupt, destroy or capture vehicles of enormous economic value containing hazardous or dangerous materials such as chemical liquids, gas, or radioactive material. Irrespective of where, over land or sea, the threat is equally pressing.
"ARENA delivers a model based on existing surveillance technology that provides autonomous monitoring and situational awareness of the environment surrounding mobile critical assets, in order to alert personnel to threats. While some monitoring systems may already exist at the station, the harbour or garage, when the vehicle is in transit, there are no surveillance systems that can continuously monitor the platform – ARENA offers a way to address this vulnerability."
In the case of road haulage, trucks are particularly exposed to criminal activities whenever stationary and especially during overnight rest stops, when drivers are vulnerable to attack and robbery. ARENA introduces a monitoring system that can continuously protect the truck and the truck driver via sensor monitoring and detection providing an alarm when a threat is detected.
Heightened fear concerning piracy at sea has resulted in greater efforts being made to develop monitoring systems that deliver early warning and deterrence. The development of such systems is however bespoke and does not enable autonomous situational awareness, nor are these systems adaptable to a diverse range of threats and environments such as protection of critical mobile assets.
Under the coordination of FOI, the Swedish Defence Research Agency, the project is further supported by seven project partners from five EU countries including: BMT Group Ltd, ITTI Sp. z.o.o, SAFRAN Sagem Défense Sécurité, SAFRAN MORPHO, TNO, (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) and the University of Reading.