Sensor Test Lanes

Exponent maintains a depth of expertise in the design, development, test, and evaluation of geophysical sensor systems applied to the problem of buried object detection. In particular, Exponent has worked extensively on behalf of the US Department of Defense, the UK Ministry of Defence, and other allied nations to develop and deliver a ground penetrating radar (GPR)-based system capable of detecting buried landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Extensions of the technology have led to projects for utility companies and geophysical survey companies.

In support of these efforts, Exponent constructed a series of sensor test lanes in the natural desert environment of the Test and Engineering Center (Phoenix, AZ). The field of test lanes was modelled after US and UK proving grounds test areas, where in-development technology is challenged by a “representative environment” before future investment and deployment to the field. By installing such a site in its own backyard, Exponent has been able to rapidly iterate on all aspects of its prototype systems, replicate and test against new challenges as they are reported from the field, as well as support quick-turn evaluation of vendor sensor arrays on behalf of its clients. The site includes precision survey of test targets as they are emplaced. In our case, test targets have included surrogate landmines and IEDs, as well as test targets motivated by the challenges of our commercial clients (e.g. pipes and other underground utilities). Exponent sensor test lanes cover a cumulative 1500 meters of linear distance and include a range of soil mediums from dirt to gravel to asphalt and concrete.