CTC and INTEDIG will combine the use of drones with Artificial Intelligence techniques to reinforce the security of the Port of Santander

The CTC Technology Centre and INTEDIG are working on the development and implementation of a system of sensorised drones combined with Artificial Intelligence techniques to reinforce the security of the Port of Santander. It is a modern and innovative tool, which goes beyond the scope of traditional cameras and allows the Port to have efficient resources to guarantee all its operations.

This initiative, funded by the “Ports 4.0” Fund promoted by the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda through ‘Puertos del Estado’, has become one of the 19 proposals selected out of almost 400 submitted to this fund and demonstrates the competence of companies in the region when it comes to providing innovative solutions.

Presentation of the project

The project in which CTC and INTEDIG are working is committed to the use of remotely controlled drones to increase the security of maritime ports. An innovation whose results, can be extrapolated to a national and even international level. It is a reliable and efficient video surveillance tool, with a rapid response and high resolution viewing. Unlike fixed cameras, which are limited in their usefulness by their own range, the drone is capable of searching for, identifying and tracking moving objects. To do this, the project will combine an unmanned aircraft system with computer vision and Machine Learning techniques.

Drone show

On the other hand, the computer vision tools automate the processes of detection and classification of both people and atypical behaviour within the port area. This circumstance, based on the application of automatic learning processes, makes the process agile and minimises errors. In this way, it is possible to detect the presence of people in the monitored environment, position them on a map and carry out monitoring tasks.

In addition, the system developed by CTC and INTEDIG will allow the drones to be programmed to take off at pre-established times, so they can carry out security and terrain reconnaissance tasks practically automatically.

This project allows CTC to continue expanding its knowledge in navigation systems and autonomous vehicles, improving the application of these technological solutions to meet the needs of companies and society, and maintaining its degree of specialisation at the level of European benchmark centres and companies.

Importance of the Port in the Cantabrian economy

The fact that ports are considered strategic enclaves to guarantee the stability of international logistics, as well as the economic activity associated with maritime tourism, are the main arguments justifying the growing interest in reinforcing the security of port areas and their accesses.

According to ‘Puertos del Estado’, during the first semester of 2022, Spanish ports handled 284.6 million tonnes of cargo, a figure which already exceeds the pre-pandemic levels by 224 thousand tonnes. Likewise, passenger traffic continues to increase by over 120% since the beginning of the year and has totalled 11.5 million passengers in the first six months of 2022.

In the specific case of the Port of Santander, its activity represents 13% of the industrial GDP of Cantabria, and accounts for 11% of employment in the community. Likewise, last year it registered its all-time record for goods traffic, with a total result of 6.7 million tonnes moved. Despite the slight drop in freight traffic during the first half of 2022, the movement of cargo is expected to increase during the last six months of the year and recover the trend of 2021.

Furthermore, in the case of passengers, during the period from January to June, the Port of Santander has seen a 262% increase in the number of passengers in the transport and cruise regime, reaching a figure of 105,891.