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Radar Technology Used to Target Grit, Salt on Scotland's Roads


A small microwave transmitter can be fitted on the front of the vehicle doing the grit/salt spreading.

Heriot-Watt University researchers have developed a technology that could help spread grit and salt on icy winter roads more efficiently.

Credit: BBC News

Researchers at Heriot-Watt University (HWU) in Edinburgh, Scotland, U.K., have developed a smart sensing technology that could help spread grit and salt on roads more efficiently.

The technology, spun out into a startup called MicroSense Technologies, is about the size of a mobile phone and uses advanced data analysis and radar sensing to detect how much de-icer salt is already on the road.

The technology uses radar and a small microwave transmitter that can be pointed at the road and attached to a smaller black box, which calculates a ratio between the output signal and the return signal.

This ratio tells the system how much salt needs to be spread, as well as how icy the road is, whether it needs to be gritted, and what kind of grit (sand) and salt is already there.

The sensor can be fitted to a remotely controlled vehicle or to an aerial drone.

Said David Flynn, director of the Smart Systems Group at HWU, "We've been training this sensor, in a sense giving it a library or you could consider it a memory, of what all these different signatures look like."

From BBC News
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