The project is supported by the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic within the TREND program, which supports industrial research projects. The main objective of the TREND program is to increase the international competitiveness of enterprises, in particular, by expanding their markets abroad, penetrating new markets or moving higher in global value chains. The program's secondary objectives are to increase the number of companies carrying out their own R&D activities and to strengthen the focus of research organizations on internationally competitive applied research with benefits for the industry and society. Project RaDron took 8th place in the 1st call for proposals.
The RaDron project aims at developing a miniature device for fast localization of a static or moving gamma radiation source and integrating it into a miniature autonomous aircraft (drone). Later, the detector will be adapted to a handheld radiation imager and as a mobile phone accessory. The miniature detector will utilize a Compton camera using the Timepix3 chips with Si and CdTe sensors. An artificial intelligence software will control the drone to find the source in challenging scenarios, e.g., without GPS signal coverage. The system will also utilize multiple cooperating drones for finding the radiation source faster. Considered scenarios include monitoring of nuclear deposits as well as hazardous events such as nuclear accidents or radiation risk monitoring for the integrated rescue system.Our team will focus on several scenarios:
- Autonomous searching for the radiation source in the defined area using drone(s) equipped with Compton camera – this solution will be suitable for usage also under complicated terrain conditions
- Monitoring of static scene and evaluation of changes in distribution of radioactivity – e.g. monitoring of nuclear waste depository
- Mobile solution for operative inspection of presence of radiation sources – could be used e.g. by firemen
- Drone prototype equipped with Compton camera and corresponding software tools for radiation source searching and identification; several drones can be eventually connected together forming a dynamic net of intelligent cooperating detection units
- Static detection system based on Compton camera for monitoring of radiation environment; one or more cameras can be installed to cover defined space
- Miniature version of Compton camera integrated into smartphone or tablet cover, mobile application for camera control and data visualization