uav surveillance

SHIELD - Safeguard Heritage In Endangered Looted Districts 

SHIELD aims to bring public authorities and police corps a step further using an autonomous, flexible, sustainable and scalable, aerial surveillance system in order to identify in real-time illegal excavation and enable LEAs to take proper actions.

Goal is to design and build an artificially intelligent Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to patrol archaeological and heritage sites using the latest technologies in imaging techniques, live data streaming, in-flight processing, decentralized (on-board) 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, 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 put in place a deterrence strategy to target specific criminal behavior.


from April 2020 to March 2022 (2y) (extended to April 2023)


Project funded by EU JPI Cultural Heritage, RIF (Cyprus), MIUR (Italy), FCT (Portugal)

Contact: Fabio Poiesi

Team: Fabio Poiesi, Davide Boscaini, Nicola Saljoughi, Mohamed Mekhalfi, Luigi Riz

SHIELD flayer

brochure of the shield project

SHIELD data collection in Cyprus - december 2022

related publications

F. Poiesi and D. Boscaini. Learning general and distinctive 3D local deep descriptors for point cloud registration. IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 45(3):3979-3985, 2023

L. Riz et al. The MONET dataset: Multimodal drone thermal dataset recorded in rural scenarios. Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition - CVPR Workshops, June 2023