Development of a new generation of sonar systems for seafloor imaging.
A prototype high resolution sea floor mapping system has been development, making use of sophisticated signal processing, synthetic imaging algorithms and wide band transducer design. Software simulations of the performance of wide band synthetic sonar have been constructed, to assess image processing schemes. Numerical models of sonar echoes backscattered from the sea floor have been completed to determine how to interpret the data. The feasibility of towing a device from a vessel was investigated. Tests were carried out in water tanks, and parameters of experimental prototypes calculated from theory and experiment. Sea trials have been conducted to prove the feasibility of such a prototype (May 1993).
This will have to ensure both a great ease of use and high performances. To reach these aims, these systems will include innovative technology of wide-band signal processing and more particularly of synthetic aperture: while classical imaging systems (sonar) consider the ship movement as an external parameter and provide for each position a "snapshot", the synthetic aperture sonars integrate these movements in the processing. As opposed to classical sonars, for which increasing the resolution proceeds from an increase of the array length (problem of manoeuvrability), a synthetic aperture sonar allows it to reach the same resolution using a small-sized towed array. The complexity of the system is thus no longer the immersed mechanical parts, but the electronic instrumentation, the signal processing and the trajectory systems. All these will be developed in this project to provide an accurate mapping of seafloors and a seabottom classification.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
NE1 7RU Newcastle Upon Tyne