France’s Azur Drones offers a truly autonomous, drone in a box solution for security. It’s a powerful and sophisticated system designed to secure critical infrastructure – and with French approval to fly autonomously beyond visual line of sight, Azur is poised to be Europe’s leading player in security drones.
Azur Drones is now providing their drone security solution to the Grand Port Maritime of Dunkerque, one of the largest ports in France. It’s a perfect job for a drone. Read on for our exclusive interview with Azur CEO Jean-Marc Crépin on how they got the business, the roles for both drones and people in protecting critical facilities, and what the market looks like in autonomous security solutions.
DRONLIFE (DL): How did you first think of putting drones in ports for security?
Jean-Marc Crépin: “Eamus Cork Security first contacted us as they were convinced that drone technology could help them strengthening safety over their site. A that time, they were impeded by regulatory constraints. We unlocked this situation in February 2019, thanks to our DGAC approval, which allows us to operate our autonomous system throughout France over private sites. Since then, we have met many others port facilities interested in our solution. In these high-traffic areas, the autonomous drone is the ideal tool to support safety teams day and night.”
DL: What are the roles for people and drones in security missions? What do the drones do better?
Jean-Marc Crépin: “Skeyetech is complementary to the existing security system. During doubts removal missions, the drone offers faster access to information (5 times faster than manned patrols), increasing the responsiveness of security teams. During patrols, the drone is deployed at the same time as handlers, but on opposite sides, in order to better cover the site. It also allows to fly over dangerous or hard-to-reach areas and provides more complete information without jeopardizing teams safety. Skeyetech drone thus optimizes security devices while allowing security agents to focus on the decision-making.”
DL: How big is the segment worldwide?
Jean-Marc Crépin: “There is a huge potential for development on the port security market. Today, there are thousands of commercial ports around the world. Their traffic is extremely dense. For instance, in 2018, the world’s 120 leading ports processed 654 million* TEUs (Twenty Equivalent Units). We are convinced that the autonomous drone technology could bring a real added value on main port areas.”
DL: What are the specific challenges that ports face that Azur helps to solve?
Jean-Marc Crépin: “In Dunkirk, drone missions are mainly dedicated to flow control and the prevention of trespassing and intrusions in the Restricted Access Zone. It carries out more than 20 missions per day, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week: human detection and identification, vehicle tracking and identification and entrance checks.
Below is their recent press release with additional details.
World-first: A port monitored by an autonomous drone
Paris, December 05, 2019 – Eamus Cork Security, a specialist in port security, has been protecting a Port Facility of the Grand Port Maritime of Dunkerque since July 2019 with the autonomous drone Skeyetech, belonging to Azur Drones coupled with Genetec’s Security Center Omnicast video management system. Complementary to existing human and technical measures, the system makes it possible to strengthen site surveillance, particularly in the Restricted Access Zone. The port of Dunkirk is thus becoming the first port in the world to roll out such monitoring technology.
Dunkirk is one of the biggest ports in France. Each year, more than 3 million passengers and 7 million tons of freight transit through it. The International Security Code (ISPS) requires permanent control and monitoring of port facilities with enhanced measures for Restricted Access Zones. The partnership between Azur Drones, Eamus Cork and Genetec plays a part in achieving this objective.
“Due to its dense activity and regulatory requirements, the Port Facility must be secured 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. It became clear that our human presence and the operator’s CCTV system should be complemented by drone technology. The Skeyetech system, integrated with Genetec, improves the responsiveness and efficiency of the security teams that monitor the installations.” explains Thomas Ditacroute, Chief Operating Officer at Eamus Cork.
The Skeyetech autonomous UAV can take off at any time, with a single click, to carry out surveillance missions in a completely autonomous way. Equipped with optical and thermal cameras, it is operational day and night to perform specific checks, conduct perimeter patrols or monitor interventions at a distance. It is the first unmanned UAV system to be approved in Europe for out-of-sight flights.
Thanks to Genetec ADroneX plug-in, Security teams can carry out drone missions directly from Genetec Security Center Omnicast in predefined way, manually or according to alarms and events identified by the system. They can also, with the same interface, follow video feedback and the drone’s trajectory on a map thanks to “plan manager” module.
“The Skeyetech system has been designed to strengthen the security of even the most complex sensitive sites, and the port of Dunkirk is a good example. The site’s activity requires very regular flights, day and night, in a highly saline environment and often in adverse weather conditions.” comments Nicolas Billecocq, Chief Operating Officer of Azur Drones.
“Azur Drones is proud to be Eamus Cork’s partner in the protection of the Grand Port Maritime of Dunkerque. We are convinced that the autonomous surveillance UAV is the ideal complementary protection solution to enhance the security of sensitive sites such as the port of Dunkirk.” adds Jean-Marc Crépin, Chief Executive Officer of Azur Drones.
“Our technological partnership with Azur Drones will allow the port of Dunkirk to exploit the full potential of their surveillance drone. Information provided by Skeyetech drones will indeed be analyzed and used directly into the Security Center platform, allowing security operators to quickly make the best operational decisions.“ concludes Guillaume Charon, Sales Director France at Genetec.
About Azur Drones
Founded in 2012, Azur Drones is today the European leader in surveillance UAVs. A pioneer in drone-in-a-box systems, the company developed a brand-new autonomous solution that meets safety and security requirements, even in the most sensitive and complex environments. Skeyetech system is the first autonomous drone in Europe approved by the authorities. It can carry out specific checks, reconnaissance flights or assist in crisis situations 24/7.
Based in France, Azur drones collaborates with well-established contractors and authorities in France and abroad (US and Middle East). It is engaged in several strategic partnerships with major actors of security and surveillance market such as Genetec.
You can obtain more information on azurdrones.com
About Eamus Cork
A specialist in Port Security since 2004, the Eamus Cork group is at the forefront of meeting the requirements of the International Security Code (ISPS) and the Treaty of Le Touquet. It offers its expertise and experience to public or private operators of all types of facilities that have to manage passenger and freight flows on several continental platforms. Its expertise also allows it to protect industrial sites as well as sensitive sites such as SEVESO with Fire Safety & Prevention issues. As a partner of the public forces, Eamus Cork contributes to the strengthening of security policies, access control, detection of prohibited or dangerous articles or materials, as well as the fight against terrorism and international mafia networks at its sites of intervention, in particular by using CCTV, dog handlers and now the drone.The Eamus Cork group also has its own Authorized Security Agency (Mannanan Consulting) which gives it the right to carry out Security Assessments and draw up Security Plans on behalf of the French State.
You can obtain more information on eamuscork.com
Genetec develops open-architecture software, hardware and cloud-based services for the physical security and public safety industry. Its flagship product, Security Center, unifies IP-based access control, video surveillance and automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) into one platform. A global innovator since 1997, Genetec is headquartered in Montréal, Canada, and serves enterprise and government organizations via an integrated network of resellers, certified channel partners, integrators and consultants in over 80 countries. Genetec was founded on the principle of innovation and remains at the forefront of emerging technologies that unify IP physical security systems.
For more information about Genetec, visit: www.genetec.com
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