The University of Edinburgh -
Division of Informatics
Forrest Hill & 80 South Bridge

PhD Thesis #8407

Title:Intelligent Automatic Interpretation of Active Marine Sonar.
Date: 1984
Abstract:This dissertation explores the problems raised by the design and construction of a real-time sonar interpreter operating in a three-dimensional marine context, and then focusses on two major research issues inherent in sonar interpretation: the treatment of observer and object motion, and the efficient exploitation of the specularity of acoustic reflection. The theoretical results derived in these areas have been tested where appropriate by computer simulation. In the context of mobile marine robotics, the registration of sensory data obtained from differing viewpoints is of paramount importance. Small marine vehicles of the type considered here do not carry sophisticated navigational equipment, and cannot be held stationary in the water for any length of time. The viewpoint registration problem is defined and analysed in terms of the new problem of motion resolution: the task of resolving the apparent motion of objects into that part due to the movement of the observer and that due to the objects' proper motion. Two solutions to this underconstrained problem are presented. The first presupposes that the observer orientation is known a priori so that only the translational observer motion must be determined. It is applicable to two and three-dimensional situations. The second solution determines both the translational and the rotational motion of the observer, but is restricted to a two-dimensional situation. Both solutions are based on target tracking techniques, and have been extensively tested in two dimensions by computer simulation. The necessary extensions to deal with full three-dimensional motion are also discussed. The second major research issue addressed in this thesis is the efficient use of specularity. Specular echos have a high intrinsic information content because of the alignment conditions necessary for their generation. In the marine acoustic context they provide a significant proportion of the information available from an acoustic ranger

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