Cargo Screening Ferret

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Automatic Control and Systems Eng

Abstract

In this proposal we aim to develop a new approach to cargo screening where we take sensors to the contraband within cargo containers using mini-robots, providing rapid and highly sensitive detection of a range of contraband. A variety of technologies and methods are available and routinely used for the screening and detection of illegal substances and materials within cargo containers. These external screening systems are typically bulky, expensive and require ultra-high sensitivity as the sensor is remote from the cargo. Further, detailed investigation requires either time consuming unpacking of the cargo or the need for staff to enter the cargo putting them at risk of contamination from the contraband. This proposal addresses both the development of novel sensors and their delivery to the point of detection through the use of a robotic system / thus the sensing devices must be compact, low power and lightweight to be best tailored to use in this way. The development of effective sensors is designed to make a difference / to be able to detect specifically (and in very low concentrations) given illegal substances. The sensors developed are targeted to match the sensitivity of dogs in detecting substances, but not having the problem of distraction, tiring or confusion, with a much longer on-duty time, due to the inanimate nature of the sensor. The key advantage is that the sensors are able to detect multiple specific substances in compact devices ideally suited to mounting on the small robotic vehicle to be used for the delivery of the sensors to the region where the measurement has to be made.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Developed novel sensors for detecting very low concentrations of airborne particles. Can be used for detecting smuggled substances, pollution etc.

Developed novel robot device for inspecting infrastructure.
Exploitation Route The original purpose of the grant was to detect illegal substances in cargo containers in ports. The developed technologies now have wider potential uses. The sensors can be used for detecting very low concentrations of airborne particles, e.g. pollution.

The robot developed can be used for general inspection tasks, e.g. inspecting infrastructure such as bridges for faults.
Sectors Security and Diplomacy,Transport

 
Description Developed novel sensors for detection of trace substances, e.g. drugs, for anti-smuggling. Developed novel robot for inspections tasks.
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description City University
Amount £140,298 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/J013552/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2012 
End 03/2013
 
Description City University
Amount £140,298 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/J013552/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2012 
End 03/2013