The Safeguard Heritage In Endangered Looted Districts (SHIELD) Project aims at designing and building an artificially intelligent Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to patrol archaeological and heritage sites using the latest technologies in imaging techniques, live data streaming, decentralized (onboard) processing, Machine Learning, and flight data management.
The customized surveillance device is expected to be autonomously deployed from a ground station (helipad) on scheduled operations both during night and day routine flights.
The system is foreseen to take-off, patrol a targeted area, stream live data, land, recharge the batteries and stand-by for the next scheduled operation.
The final goals are represented by the identification of looting activities in real-time, the collection of data for monitoring purposes on the medium and long-term period and the creation of a deterrence strategy to target specific criminal behaviour.
SHIELD system is tailored for its integration into thematic policies and strategies for the protection of cultural heritage, implemented by the relevant stakeholders such as Departments of Antiquities and Police Corps.
The SHIELD project final goal is to primarily identify looting activities in different environmental scenarios and, in the long term, prevent them from happening, through synergies with local police corps.
SHIELD aims to bring public authorities and police corps a step further using an autonomous, flexible, sustainable and scalable, aerial surveillance system to identify in real-time illegal excavation and enable them to take proper actions.
SHIELD system can be easily relocated overcoming issues related to distances coverage, support for efficient in situ maintenance and fail-safe operation.
SHIELD addresses scalability by reducing the cost of human-in-the-loop operations also in the event of fleet expansion. An operator will indeed control the system(s) performance during patrolling activities from a remote control-room, triggering alarms to local authorities when appropriate.
In the long-term SHIELD will drastically impact on economic and non-economic resource optimization by the local authorities and government.