The fight against illegal immigration across the Channel is a top priority for the French and British authorities. To address this, the two countries have signed an agreement funded by London to the tune of 72.2 million Euros for the period 2022-2023. The aim is to set up a ‘smart border’ based on advanced technologies to secure the coastline and avoid drowning on board makeshift boats. It is in this context that the French company HGH has been asked by the Ministry of Interior to provide several SPYNEL infrared panoramic detection solutions. These systems allow for permanent and continuous surveillance in addition to the temporary surveillance means such as patrols, drones and airplanes used to monitor the one hundred and fifty kilometres of coastline of the Nord and Pas-de-Calais departments.
“Image processing and artificial intelligence algorithms have been developed on the CYCLOPE software to trigger an alarm only in case of detection of groups of people near the water, to avoid false alarms and act quickly. The SPYNEL solution is ideal for this need because it allows continuous and intelligent monitoring of the coastline over a very long distance,” explains Edouard Campana, responsible for the SPYNEL range at HGH.
The smugglers’ ploy is constantly evolving, which is why French authorities are multiplying sensors and surveillance solutions to succeed in preventing the departure of migrants before a tragedy occurs. Equipped with the CYCLOPE software, SPYNEL panoramic surveillance cameras monitor day and night delineated areas within a ten-kilometre radius. The infrared sensors instantly alert the police command centres if migrants are detected while taking their boat to sea. More than 45,000 migrants reached the English coast illegally in 2022 by crossing the Channel on makeshift boats. Since 2014, more than 200 people have lost their lives trying to cross the Channel from the northern coast of France. With the implementation of the ‘smart border’, French and British authorities have strengthened their collaboration with the aim of safeguarding human life thanks to innovative solutions.
HGH has been an expert in infrared technology for 40 years. Since 1982, HGH designs, develops, assembles and sells electro-optics systems and software for security, defense, oil & gas, energy and various industrial applications. The company has established itself as an international reference in terms of innovation in infrared technology, through the development of multiple advanced sensors, systems and proprietary software. HGH’s Head Office is located in Igny near Paris, in the heart of the French Optics Valley, where the most well-known research laboratories and companies are based.