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SOUNDTILES business strategy definition

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SOUNDTILES (SOUNDTILES business strategy definition)

Período documentado: 2019-12-01 hasta 2020-05-31

Activities in the underwater domain are essential to the economy and to society in general, holding high expectations for future growth. Unfortunately, most underwater operations require an overview of the submerged area before even being performed, for both safety and efficiency in operations. Very frequently, these activities take place in environments with poor water visibility conditions, thus, a new generation of imaging sonars, namely the two-dimensional Forward-Looking Sonars (FLS), have produced a recent breakthrough in the market. These devices, also termed acoustic cameras, are able to directly deliver 2D images of unprecedented clarity and resolution compared to other available sonar technologies. Using automated systems for such inspections, reduces risk for human divers, reduces costs for failed missions due to low visibility and allows a new set of applications for public health not available before. Given the lack of solutions to generate maps with this kind of data, IQUA robotics set the goal of developing a new mapping software that could process these complicated kind of images.

The correct interpretation of the data when using a mapping software prevents on errors (reducing costs), allows preventive maintenance of structures (dams, bridges, fisheries, vessels,...) increasing society security and opens a new set of applications for the emerging technology of the FLS.

The goal of the company within this SME instrument project was to validate and refine the business model for the technology. In the framework of the coaching, IQUA has worked towards the establishment of a solid base that represents an extremely helpful aid for the launching of the product.
During the project, IQUA team focused on the validation of the technology with end users, stakeholders, FLS manufacturers and potential end users that, along with the coaching guidance helped the company to push the technology towards the market.

SoundTiles project is now a product, commercially available from June 2020. It is a stand alone software tailored to the peculiarities of FLS images, integrating state of the art technologies into a usable software tool. SoundTiles can process most of current FLS formats and works in Windows 10 and Linux operating systems. It has a very friendly user interface specially conceived for non-expert users. It is distributed by a software license and has a maintenance program that allows end-users to access updates and upgrades.
The new product, the only one capable of automatic FLS image mosaicing, is based on a combination of algorithms specially tailored to this kind of images, developed along a PhD thesis and a Postdoctoral fellowship, including: an innovative frequency-based image registration algorithm to find the rotation and translation that aligns two sonar images; a global alignment framework to ensure consistency along all the registers found in a particular trajectory; and a blending algorithm devoted to minimize photometrical artifacts when merging the different images in the computed positions and produce and smooth and informative final mosaic.