How AI can support the European Border and Coast Guard

Conceptual representation of the protection and interaction of the personal data of the inhabitants of the planet and industrial data using artificial intelligence and the Internet of things, photo by kosssmosss/Adobe Stock

kosssmosss/Adobe Stock


The EU faces a number of threats at the external borders, stemming from factors such as irregular migration, people smuggling, human trafficking, illegal weapons, and drugs.

In December 2019, Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, gained, through its new Regulation, responsibilities and tools to more effectively support EU Member States and Schengen Associated Countries in managing their external borders to provide a high level of security for all their citizens.

Frontex has three strategic objectives: reduce the vulnerability of the external borders; guarantee safe, secure and well-functioning EU borders; and plan and maintain European Border and Coast Guard capabilities. In several years, Frontex will count on 10,000 border and coast guard officers to help European countries with border control and migration management.

Frontex is tasked to proactively monitor and contribute to research and innovation activities relevant for border control and to keep the European Parliament, Member States, and the European Commission informed of new developments — including advanced technology — in the field of border management.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) yields great potential to significantly enhance the effectiveness of security and operational activities at the borders and beyond, with direct and multiplying impact on internal security.


The overall objective of this study is to explore the ways in which the European Border and Coast Guard can maximise the opportunity provided by AI to support the management of the European Union’s external borders. It will also examine how Frontex can support the EU’s wider goals to become a global leader in the development and deployment of cutting-edge, ethical and secure AI.

Research questions:

  1. What is the current landscape in the application of AI to border security?
  2. Which new and emerging AI-based systems may be applied to border security?
  3. In which areas of border security may new and emerging AI-based systems be applied?
  4. What steps are required to integrate AI-based systems into border security?


The research team will collect data through case studies (via interviews and document review), and horizon scanning, before conducting a STREAM workshop. They will then develop technology roadmaps for key AI-based technologies via the use of interactive and participant-led roadmapping workshops.