Signal processing breakthroughs to boost Target Detection

Posted by ap507 at Apr 24, 2018 09:45 AM |
Scientists improve tracking capabilities through pioneering signal processing research

Issued by University of Leicester on 24 April 2018

Images available here:

Target Detection will receive a vital boost thanks to pioneering signal processing research.

A new method for processing signals to find and track difficult-to-detect targets has been developed by a consortium of scientists led by Professor Jonathon Chambers from the University of Leicester’s Department of Engineering.

The new research, which has been funded by the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), uses a novel mathematical approach called a polynomial matrix decomposition in order to analyse multiple broadband signals.

“Signal processing is used frequently in the modern world, such as in radar, sonar and electro-optic applications,” explains Professor Chambers. “This has a variety of uses in defence, including detecting anomalous behaviour, dangerous chemicals in the environment and so on. Better processing of this information can also have a considerable impact on cyber defence and security by being able to detect and in certain instances pre-empt anomalies.”

More than 150 research outputs have been developed as part of the consortium which has attracted a further £12M in research funding beyond the initial £4M provided by Dstl and the EPSRC, highlighting the demand for the innovative technology.

The research has been carried out by a consortium as part of the University Defence Research Collaboration (UDRC), composed of a group of six universities and eight companies which works to deliver faster and more robust algorithms to extract useful information from sensor data, allowing for timely and better-informed military decision-making.

The UDRC provides the Ministry of Defence with access to a high-quality and current academic talent pool and strengthens the links between the Higher Education sector and government.

The current phase of the UDRC is a five-year, £11.5 million programme addressing the topic of ‘Signal processing in a networked battlespace’. The third stage of the project is due to begin later in the year.

"The second phase of the UDRC has been a great success,” says Professor Chambers. “I’m pleased that this is already impacting the Ministry of Defence’s policy in terms of engagement with universities. The project has exposed academics to the priorities of the UK armed forces, and provided opportunity to transfer the latest academic research to the defence sector. We’ve been really impressed at the range of impact the UDRC research has had, proving itself an excellent platform on which to build a world-leading signal processing research community.”

Professor Andrew Baird, from the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory, said: “Wide bandwidth transmissions are becoming increasingly important in imaging in a range of applications. This work represents a significant step forward in the processing of these types of signal.”

The consortium is also providing the academic community with a toolbox built in MATLAB which contains additional resources, laying the foundation for future scientists and signal processing research to build upon and is available at

Engineering students at the University of Leicester have the opportunity to learn the basics of MATLAB as part of their degree studies, familiarising them with a valuable software environment which is used by professional engineers and scientists and has real-world applications.


Notes to editors:

For more information contact Professor Jonathon Chambers on

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

As the main funding agency for engineering and physical sciences research, our vision is for the UK to be the best place in the world to Research, Discover and Innovate.

By investing £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, we are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation. Our portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research we fund has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture.

We work collectively with our partners and other Research Councils on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.

Share this page: