Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

FarSounder, URI researcher develop first sonar for marine navigation, obstacle avoidance

07.01.2004


Device can save industry $2 to $3 billion in annual damages from collisions



FarSounder, Inc. and a University of Rhode Island researcher have begun commercial production of the FS-3, the first 3-dimensional, forward-looking sonar designed as an aid to marine navigation.

With a range of 1,000 feet, a 90 degree field of view, and a refresh rate of just two seconds, the device will allow marine vessels to avoid collisions with submerged obstacles and potentially save the marine industry $2 to $3 billion per year in direct and indirect damage costs.


"We’ve been told that we’ve broken the laws of physics with this technology, but we haven’t. We’ve just opened the world up below the water line," said James Miller, a professor of ocean engineering at URI, where he began development of the technology along with former student Matthew Zimmerman, who is now FarSounder’s vice president of engineering. "This is a revolutionary leap for marine navigation, especially since most navigational charts in use today are more than 50 years old and many waterways are constantly changing."

The FS-3 is designed primarily for mid-size workboats (70-200 feet) like barges, tugs, offshore oil supply boats, research vessels, and ferries, but it is also of interest to large recreational vessels, the Navy and its contractors, and many others.

It provides high-resolution images of common hazards such as submerged shipping containers, whales, coral reefs, buoys, rocks and coastal ledge, and it is especially useful in navigating shallow waters or for nighttime navigation in unfamiliar harbors.

"There are 22,000 floating shipping containers in the oceans on any given day, and they are of great concern to ships’ captains around the world," said Cheryl Zimmerman, chief executive officer of FarSounder, which was listed by Rhode Island Monthly as one of the top ten small Rhode Island companies to watch in 2004. "Owners of petro-chemical barges, in particular, are concerned about any type of collision due to the environmental costs that might result from damage to their vessels."

Added Miller, "Just think of the cost of the Exxon Valdez disaster. If that captain could have had a map of the seafloor ahead of him, that disaster could have been avoided."

The FS-3 passed its final sea tests late in 2003 and was formally launched at the International Workboat Show in New Orleans in December, where it met with great endorsements from boat owners. Priced at between $55,000 and $65,000, the device is coupled with an electronic navigational chart system so users can not only see obstacles and the seafloor ahead of them but also easily see their geographic position.

"Our sonar delivers the three critical readings required for obstacle avoidance: range, bearing and depth. Two-dimensional sonars can only provide two of those three," Miller explained. "And the FS-3 generates a complete 3-D image on one ping every two or three seconds, unlike other systems that require several minutes and many pings to complete an image."

The sonar transmitter and listening devices are encased in a bow-mounted transducer that operates at frequencies well above the hearing range of whales, so marine mammals will not be impacted by its operation. Through "adaptive sonification," the system will soon automatically raise and lower sound levels depending on sea-states and the distance to objects.

The transducer is connected by a custom cable to a power module about the size of a briefcase. The user interface runs Sonasoft, a Windows XP-based graphical program that can be run on a laptop or marine computer. The user-friendly, 3-D volumetric navigational display provides vessel location on electronic charts, depth profile, color mapped depth scale, user-selectable depth and detection thresholds. It can also display GPS, vessel speed and heading data. The system can easily be set up so alarms will sound if obstacles or particular depths are encountered.

The technology used by the FS-3 has a wide range of potential uses and can be customized for individual needs. It can be adapted for Homeland Security uses like shoreland defense, in-water mine detection, terrorist swimmer detection, and defense of bridges and ports. It also could be used as an underwater security camera for dock-owners and waterfront property owners, among other uses.

FarSounder, Inc. is a Providence-based company established by Miller and Matthew Zimmerman in 2001 to bring to market the marine navigation technology they began developing at the University of Rhode Island with the assistance of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. The company has built five generations of prototypes. The FS-3 is its first commercialized product.

FarSounder expects to grow from its current six employees to 20 by the end of 2005. For more information visit http://www.farsounder.com or call Cheryl Zimmerman at 401-784-6700.


For Further Information:
Cheryl Zimmerman 401-784-6700, or Todd McLeish 401-874-7892.

Todd McLeish | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.farsounder.com

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht A helping (Sens)Hand
11.04.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Study sets new distance record for medical drone transport
13.09.2017 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Research finds new molecular structures in boron-based nanoclusters

13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Algae Have Land Genes

13.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>