Dr. Jim Miller is a professor of ocean engineering at the University of Rhode Island. His research specializes in using underwater sound to study the structure of ocean temperatures and seafloor sediments. Dr. Miller has used this expertise to construct a sonar system that provides a three-dimensional picture of the ocean depths and any underwater submerged obstacles ahead of a vessel. This sonar system is designed for obstacle avoidance and navigation, and is also being tested for detecting whales and dolphins that are located in front of a vessel. Ship strikes are the leading cause of anthropogenic deaths to North Atlantic right whales, and a system that would allow vessels to detect and avoid the whales could help prevent the extinction of this species.
We recently sat down with Dr. Miller to discuss the development of this new sonar system and the research he has been conducting.