On Thursday, January 23rd, Ms Katalin Pokornyi, a FRONTEX Senior Liaison Officer to Croatia, Hungary, Romania and Slovenia, accompanied by Mr Georgios Stavropoulos from CERTH and Dr Zoltan Székely from Hungarian National Police visited SMILE’s pilot installations in Nădlac, Romania.
Nădlac has for many years been the main entry point to western Romania from Hungary where an all-new border crossing point was opened in 2015. It is equipped with ten workstations and has ten lanes per direction for cars, buses and lorries. Romanian border police provided to SMILE H2020 Action a cabin at the Romanian exit line, which SMILE end-users and technicians are using to carry out SMILE tests till the end of March 2020.
Our partners from the Romanian Border Police welcomed Ms Pokornyi in the pilot site and briefed her on the project’s concept, objectives, and outcomes we expect from the pilots. Subsequently, trained officers demonstrated the modus operandi that SMILE envisions for land border crossings, using all the developed applications (e.g. pre-registration, use of biometrics). This was made possible as the Romanian border guards managed to find real travellers that volunteered to participate in the pilot so that the attendees were able to observe the actual pilot procedure in full, including subjects’ briefing, consent form completion and the testing itself.
During the six months that the pilots occur, SMILE Action researchers are assessing multiple functions of the proposed system, such as (i) user enrollment, (ii) travel pre-registration, (iii) border-crossing, and (iv) system monitoring. On completion of these tests, our end-users will evaluate all aspects of the developed system under various conditions so that the SMILE prototype evolves, with future development, into a system that is acceptable for operation in real-life missions.
Overall, Ms Pokornyi got a very positive impression of the SMILE Action system and installations, stating that a holistic solution as this has the potential to both increase security and facilitate the flows of people across the EU land borders.