Release Date
November 8th, 2023
Open Date
December 18th, 2023
Due Date(s)
January 18th, 2024
Close Date
January 18th, 2024
Topic No.


Video Analysis of Drug and Human Smuggling Activities


Department of Homeland SecurityScience and Technology Directorate


Type: SBIRPhase: Phase IYear: 2024


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking proposals for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program Phase I. The specific topic of the solicitation is "Video Analysis of Drug and Human Smuggling Activities". The goal is to develop automated video analysis capabilities that can identify activities of interest and anomalous activities related to drug and human smuggling. The technology should alert operators in real-time and provide human-machine teaming capabilities for further investigation. The algorithms developed should be able to work with standard off-the-shelf cameras, including mid-wave infrared and visible imaging sensors, with a range of up to 15 nm. The project duration is not specified, but the application due date is January 18, 2024. For more information, visit the SBIR topic link: link.


Within the United States Coast Guard (USCG), operators manually monitor shore-based video cameras to identify activities of interest or anomalous activities. It is critical to monitor these activities to support Coast Guard's migrant and drug interdiction missions along the US coastline. Manually monitoring these activities may cause the operators to experience fatigue and become less attentive throughout the day. While wearisome, activities of interest or anomalous activities may be missed in areas with high activity. Anomalous activities and activities of interest examples include but are not limited to:

  1. An unusually large number of people on board a vessel.
  2. A vessel that appears to have an unusual amount of weight on board. This can be inferred from a boat riding lower in the water or an unusually large wake behind the vessel.
  3. A vessel that lands on shore.
  4. People departing a vessel that landed on shore.
  5. People jumping from a vessel and swimming to shore.
  6. A person swimming in the water far offshore or crossing a sea border.
  7. Unusual vessel activity for the type, time, and location. For example: a vessel in a location at night that stands out as unusual; or a person on the beach at night when the beach is closed.
  8. A vessel docked at a location for an unusually long time, which can be an indicator that a vessel has been abandoned.

There is a need for automated video analysis capabilities that alert operators to these activities of interest and anomalous activities for adjudication. In addition, the proposed solution would include human-machine teaming capabilities analyzing the videos and identifying potential migrant and drug interdiction activities. With video cameras or other sensors positioned in designated locations and analyzing activities, operators would still be monitoring but the technology would flag and alert them to the activities of interest in real-time that are worthy of further investigation.

Algorithms developed shall be expected to provide capability using standard off the shelf cameras with a range up to 15 nm, including mid wave infrared and Visible Imaging Sensors.