UCL Engineering researchers to help Sir Bobby Charlton clean up landmines

6 December 2013

Funding awarded by the Find A Better Way charity, founded by Sir Bobby Charlton, will be used to develop a mobile radar system capable of detecting landmines underground in a joint project from UCL Electronic & Electrical Engineering and Cranfield University.

An estimated 110 million landmines remain buried worldwide, and can stay operational for decades. As well as saving lives and preventing injury, removing these hidden weapons frees up lands for communities to use while recovering from conflict. Find a Better Way was founded Sir Bobby Charlton to address this problem by developing technology for humanitarian mine clearance. Working with EPSRC, the charity selected two research projects who jointly received £1million for work in this area at a gala dinner on the 28th of November.

Professor Hugh Griffiths of UCL holds a landmine

Professor Hugh Griffiths of UCL holds a landmine

Project DETERMINE, led by Professor Hugh Griffiths (UCL Electronic & Electrical Engineering) and Dr Ivor Morrow (Cranfield University), will focus on correctly identifying the electronic signatures produced by landmines, reducing the frequency of false positives that happen when objects are mistakenly identified. They will embed this intelligent analysis in a highly mobile ground-penetrating radar system, capable of searching for landmines across all terrains.

Professor Griffiths, who holds the THALES/Royal Academy of Engineering Chair of RF Sensors at UCL, says:

 “The research being promoted by Find a Better Way is incredibly important. Landmine clearance is a major global problem. Currently, minefields are swept manually by metal detectors and manual probes, which is a slow and time-consuming process. We aim to develop new radar technology to improve the speed and reliability of this process.”

The work brings together two complementary groups; UCL has been a centre of excellence in radar systems and signal processing for many decades, while Cranfield has long experience in researching and developing ground-penetrating radar. The project will be completed over three years.

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