Prof GP Hancke (Gerhard)









  • Professor


Professional Status

Registered as Professional Engineer (PrEng) at the The Engineering Council of South Africa in 1973. ECSA is a signatory to the Washington Accord.

Membership of Professional Societies

           Fellow of the IEEE (FIEEE)  and member of the following IEEE Societies:

  • Communications Society
  • Computer Society
  • Education Society
  • Industrial Electronics Society

Research Focus and Opportunities

Advanced wireless sensor network and communication solutions for industrial applications. 

  • Application Level:  i.e. application of the above in industrial environments.
  • Logical Network Level: e.g. localization, mobility, routing, intelligence, security
  • Physical Network Level: e.g. sensor hardware/nodes and communication, cognitive radio, energy harvesting.

Research Projects

Our primary goal is to collaborate with industry to investigate how advanced wireless sensor network and communication solutions can contribute to solving existing problems and challenges. Typical examples are listed below:

1. The Electrical Utility Environment

Work done with Eskom and international partners. Among many possibilities, the following are examples of issues that were addressed.

  • safety of staff (prevention of electrocution)
  • monitoring of transmission and distribution lines for improved performance
  • energy harvesting from HV lines

2.  Safety in Underground Mines

As a member of a consortium consisting of local and international research and industrial partners, we have been participating in two projects sponsored by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  • technical feasibility of the deployment of gas sensors and communication in South African underground mines. [Completed.]
  • wireless sensing and communications for underground mining, covering aspects such as safety and real-time location, ventilation, air conditioning. [Completed].

3.  Smart Networks

Typical topics in collaboration with the Meraka Institute on Smart Networks.

  • Software Defined Wireless Sensor Network (SDWSN)
  • 5G for Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Network Security
  • Network Management
  • Smart Water Management System (SWMS)
  • Large-scale IoT-based Cyber Physical System (CPS)

Research Achievements

Prof Hancke founded the Advanced Sensor Networks Research Group in the Department in 2005 and since then became internationally recognized as a pioneer and leading scholar in advanced sensor networks (ASN) research. This is evident from the research achievements listed below. (He stepped down as Head of this Group mid-2017).

  • IEEE Fellow (2016) "for contributions to wireless sensor networks" in the category of Research Engineer/Scientist, conferred by the IEEE Board of Directors for an extraordinary record of accomplishments.
  • Scopus metrics: h-index = 27; 6244 total citations by 5513 documents (on 2021-01-16)
  • In 2009 he initiated and co-edited the first Special Section on Industrial Wireless Sensor Networks (IWSN) in the IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics (2019 IF = 7.515). This was very successful measured by the number of citations. The position paper he co-authored for this edition "Industrial Wireless Sensor Networks: Challenges, Design Principles, and Technical Aproaches", is considered seminal with 1150 citations (Scopus as on 2021-01-16).
  • He co-edited a textbook on Industrial Wireless Sensor Networks: Applications, Protocols and Standards, published in April 2013, the first on the topic.
  • IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics Best Paper Award for 2012 for “Smart Grid Technologies: Communications Technologies and Standards”, IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics (2019 IF = 9.112), vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 529 – 539, November 2011 (1588 citations in Scopus on 2021-01-16).
  • From the Web of Science (ESI):
    • ​3rd and 7th most cited papers in the IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics.
  • South Africa Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) THRIP Technology Awards 
    • Advanced Hi-Tech Category (2011)
    • SMME Development Category (2007)

Professional Activities

Recent Publications

Address and Contact Details

Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering
Engineering 1 Building, Level 15
Cnr Lynnwood and University Roads
University of Pretoria

Telephone no: (+27 12) 420-3736
Email: [email protected] 


Published by Herman Myburgh

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