A lorry

The Challenge

Searching heavy goods vehicles at border control can be time consuming and places challenges on how to best deploy patrol officers and resources. The majority of UK-bound freight vehicles are curtain or plastic sided, making them much easier to tamper with than those with metallic sides. Roke developed a robustly designed system that was suitable for permanent installation in a seaport environment to image the contents of non-metallic vehicles that are in transit.

The PANDORA system in use

The Approach

We developed the PANDORA system which uses a radiometric sensor and controlled background for vehicle imaging to detect the contents of freight vehicles. Vehicles can be scanned at speeds of up to 40km/hr as they pass through the system. Data from the scanning process is passed to an electronic equipment rack where it is processed and converted into an image for display to the system operator. The operator can then assess the image and mark the vehicles as either suspicious or not. The system queues all scanned images for assessment by the operator. Suspicious vehicles can then be stopped for physical searches. For areas of heavy traffic it would be possible to configure the system to enable multiple users to assess the scanned images.

The PANDORA system in use on a lorry


The PANDORA system saves time, eases operator burden and improves search accuracy by imaging all non-metallic goods vehicles. We have also developed a number of additional optional capabilities which include; compatibility with number plate recognition systems, traffic lights for traffic control, remote system and database access, a downward facing sensor to scan the vehicle from above and a mobile scanning solution which can be driven beside a row of parked or moving vehicles to image them as they pass.

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