EUROPE: Due to conclude next month after three years of research, the Arena programme, part funded by the EU, is intended to protect freight shippers from the risk of hijack, theft or piracy of their high-value goods, which is estimated to cost €8·2bn per annum.

Arena is a research and development programme focused on ‘architecture for recognition of threats to mobile assets using networks of affordable sensors’. The use of sensors attached to the shipment assets themselves — whether transported by rail, water or road — is intended to detect autonomously threats posed in ‘large unpredictable environments’, such as a rail freight terminal.

‘Arena delivers a model based on existing surveillance technology to alert personnel to threats’, explains Asa Waern of the Swedish Defence Research Agency, Project Co-ordinator for Arena. ‘While some monitoring systems may already exist at the station, port or terminal, when the vehicle is in transit, there are none that can continuously monitor the platform. We are addressing that vulnerability.’