Detecting Nuclear Materials in Urban Environments Using Mobile Sensor Networks

Robert Flanagan, Logan Brandt, Andrew Osborne, Mark Deinert
2021 Sensors  
Radiation detectors installed at major ports of entry are a key component of the overall strategy to protect countries from nuclear terrorism. While the goal of deploying these systems is to intercept special nuclear material as it enters the country, no detector system is foolproof. Mobile, distributed sensors have been proposed to detect nuclear materials in transit should portal monitors fail to prevent their entry in the first place. In large metropolitan areas, a mobile distributed sensor
more » ... distributed sensor network could be deployed using vehicle platforms such as taxis, Ubers, and Lyfts, which are already connected to communications infrastructure. However, performance and coverage that could be achieved using a network of sensors mounted on commercial passenger vehicles has not been established. Here, we evaluate how a mobile sensor network could perform in New York City using a combination of radiation transport and geographic information systems. The geographic information system is used in conjunction with OpenStreetMap data to isolate roads and construct a grid over the streets. Vehicle paths are built using pickup and drop off data from Uber, and from the New York State Department of Transportation. The results show that the time to first detection increases with source velocity, decreases with the number of mobile detectors, and reaches a plateau that depends on the strength of the source.
doi:10.3390/s21062196 pmid:33801076 fatcat:hu46yozgcvg7na7gzgzwhmzlay