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Project Brief

Forward Looking 3D Sonar System for Navigation and Collision Avoidance for Long Range and High Speed Applications

Develop a new generation of navigation and collision-avoidance sonar to improve the efficiency and safety of marine cargo transport.

Sponsor: FarSounder, Inc.

43 Jefferson Boulevard
Warwick, RI 02888-1078
  • Project Performance Period: 11/1/2007 - 10/31/2010
  • Total project (est.): $2,400,000.00
  • Requested ATP funds: $2,000,000.00

The use of sonar as a navigation aid is decades old, but the basic technology has had limited advancement during that time. FarSounder has proposed a project to develop a new generation of navigation and collision-avoidance sonar for commercial ships to improve the efficiency and safety of marine cargo transport. The new sonar system will be forward-looking, giving the ship's pilot a real-time, 3-dimensional view (direction, range, and depth) of obstacles up to 3.2 km away for vessels traveling at up to 65 km/hr (35 knots), all capabilities beyond current commercial sonar systems. This sonar would improve the efficiency , profitability and safety of commercial marine shipping by allowing for faster operation through more direct routes, while reducing the risk of groundings or collisions with floating or submerged objects. Reduced shipping accidents also pays off in fewer environmental impacts from spilled or leaked hazardous cargos. The technology could be used by the cruise industry and by high-speed passenger ferries where it would provide greater passenger safety and reduce insurance costs. The project requires important technological innovations, including the development of high-speed signal processing algorithms to compensate for the ship's motion, the changing acoustic environment and background noise at high speeds, and significant modifications to the sonar array. Based on industry trends, FarSounder estimates that when fully deployed such a system could reap economic benefits of up to $500 million a year through increased efficiency, reduced insurance costs, and reduced accident rates, not counting the benefits of increased passenger safety and reduced environmental damage.

For project information:
Cheryl Zimmerman, (401) 784-6700

ATP Project Manager
Gerald Castellucci, (301) 975-2435

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