Landmine detection Benkovac

Projects SEMIS & PERUN return to Benkovac

For the second time this year multiple Find A Better Way funded research teams gathered in Benkovac, Croatia, to test their latest developments in landmine detection technology.

In May 2016 three teams performed side-by-side testing of their research for the first time at the state-of-the-art landmine detection testing ground in Benkovac. Last week two of the teams, Project SEMIS from The University of Manchester and and Project PERUN from the University of Zagreb returned for another round.

One of project SEMIS’s advances since their last visit was very visible, as they ran their tests with only one detection instrument instead of two. The project’s aim has always been to combine advanced metal detection with ground penetrating radar (GPR), but previous testing had always required the two types of sensor to be housed in different devices. For the first time the team has now brought the two detection methods together in a single device.

Integrating the two technologies has been a longstanding challenge. Standalone GPR devices are typically constructed with metal components, but using these alongside a metal detector would cause interference. Project SEMIS have redesigned a GPR sensor that uses such tiny amounts metal the sensors can now work side-by-side.

‘This was our first integrated metal detector and radar,’ explained Project SEMIS lead Professor Anthony Peyton. ‘It went well and we got lots of data to analyze. The metal detector and radar still need more sensitivity to find small or deeply buried objects, but we’re confident we can fix that.’

The teams also used the new combined device to measure soil properties, which was particularly important for the Project PERUN team from Zagreb. Project PERUN is developing methods to overcome the notoriously difficult problem of ‘non-cooperative soil’ – especially mineral-rich soil that current civilian metal detectors struggle to cope with.

Project PERUN lead Professor Vedran Bilas explained, ‘The main purpose of the experiment was to verify the analytical soil model in a real-world scenario. At Benkovac we could work with much larger volumes of soil compared to the samples used in laboratory. The results from the field test will also be used for the testing of a new model-based soil compensation algorithm.’