Surveillance in an Urban Environment Using Mobile Sensors : success of the GMV-led project

The Belgium demo proved the system’s user friendliness and potential security benefits in hostile territory

This project, which has just finished, forms part of the JIP Force Projection (FP) program of the European Defence Agency

The companies involved are keen on continuing this project and are studying how to renew activities

The SUM project (Surveillance in an Urban Environment Using Mobile Sensors) has been carried out by a consortium formed by GMV as project leader, DLR (Germany), the Technical University of Munich (TUM, Germany) and the Belgian Royal Military Academy (RMA). The information picked up by the mobile sensors and the fusion of all this data facilitate surveillance in and around military operations, especially in urban surroundings.

SUM forms part of the JIP Force Protection (FP) program of the European Defence Agency (EDA); some months ago a resoundingly successful demonstration was held at the Belgian Armed Force’s Heverlee site outside Leuven in Belgium.

Threat detection still relies almost entirely on the human senses, hunches, gut feelings, experience and the application of existing procedures. Technology is unlikely to be able to replace any of these in the near future but it can provide an invaluable support. Systems like SUM will be able to cut the operator’s workload significantly and supply the commander with reliable information that will help to ensure the safety of the personnel involved.


SUM picks up data from four different types of sensors – radiometer, radar, infrared and optical. The fusion of all this data together with application of sophisticated computational algorithms can then help to detect any anomalies in the surroundings. One of the biggest challenges, apart from developing the detection and fusion technologies, was the coordination of the various sensors, both in space and time. In hostile environments these anomalies might denote the presence of deadly threats like Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

During the demonstration the SUM system, mounted on a reconnaissance vehicle, was successfully put through four different scenarios of real and simulated threats. This demonstration allowed an audience of military staff, systems engineers and researchers from the FP contributing Member States to see with their own eyes that the system as a whole works and that the human-machine interface is easy to use. This interface feeds the operator with all necessary information for identifying threats in a simple way while also affording access to all the data input from each particular sensor plus command and control data.

This project generated keen interest among the EDA Management Group (EMG) and also the demo attendees, so thought is now being given to possible ways of continuing the activities into the future.

For more information:

Business Development & Marketing Officer