More about the Research
Obstacle Avoidance
Research with Dr. Jim Miller

Dr. Miller has developed a unique forward-looking sonar system that provides a three-dimensional picture of the ocean bathymetry and any submerged obstacles that are in the water 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. The forward-looking sonar provides simultaneous range, bearing, and depth information that can produce three-dimensional images with a single ping.

Image from the forward looking sonar
This forward-looking sonar image shows a relatively flat sea floor at 8-12 water depths (blue color) and the hull of a large barge beyond the water depth capability (red & green colors).


Profile of forward looking sonar data
This is a profile slice from the image above. You can see the barge on the right of the image. The barge/tug combination happened to be in the vicinity while the sonar was being tested in shallow waters near a bulkhead. It was just barely caught it in the sonar's field of view.

For more information on 3-D sonars, see the Farsounder web site.