The EU is co-funding a research project entitled ‘Aeroceptor’ on the use of drones to stop fleeing vehicles. This would be the first time that the police would be using drones for something other than surveillance. The drones are intended to be deployed to combat ‘organised crime’, and in particular to stop vehicles that are being used to smuggle irregular migrants or drugs. According to the project overview, such action against ‘non-cooperative vehicles’ is becoming increasingly necessary. The Aeroceptor partners include the Israeli manufacturer Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and the paramilitary Spanish Guardia Civil. Both of them are also involved in a different project, along with the German federal police, in which they are testing ‘Heron’ drones manufactured by IAI for use against irregular migration. The overview does not say what techniques Aeroceptor will use to stop vehicles.
1. According to the Commission's information, how did the Aeroceptor project come about and who applied for European Union funding?
2. According to the Commission's information, what specific type of unmanned drones are to be used for possible tests? What information have the project participants provided to date?
3. What tasks are to be performed by the Spanish Guardia Civil and the French firm Etienne Lacroix in the Aeroceptor project?
4. What techniques have the Aeroceptor project participants outlined for stopping vehicles that are being used by irregular migrants or suspected drugs smugglers?
5. What use might be made of non-lethal aerial weapons in this connection (e.g. smoke, sound grenades, flash grenades)?
6. How does the Commission view the fact that the Aeroceptor project means that for the first time funding is being provided and research conducted into equipping police drones with non-lethal aerial weapons?
7. Does the Commission know whether it would in fact be legally possible for police drones to use non-lethal weapons in EU Member States and to what extent these considerations have played a role in funding for the Aeroceptor project?