Improving the Capabilities of Swath Bathymetry Sidescan Using Transmit Beamforming and Pulse Coding

Date

2014-04-30

Authors

Butowski, Marek

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Abstract

Swath bathymetry sidescan (SBS) sonar and the angle-of-arrival processing that underlies these systems has the capability to produce much higher resolution three dimensional imagery and bathymetry than traditional beamformed approaches. However, the performance of these high resolution systems is limited by signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and they are also susceptible to multipath interference. This thesis explores two methods for increasing SNR and mitigating multipath interference for SBS systems. The first, binary coded pulse transmission and pulse compression is shown to increase the SNR and in turn provide reduced angle variance in SBS systems. The second, transmit beamforming, and more specifically steering and shading, is shown to increase both acoustic power in the water and directivity of the transmitted acoustic radiation. The transmit beamforming benefits are achieved by making use of the 8-element linear angle-of-arrival array typical in SBS sonars, but previously not utilized for transmit. Both simulations and real world SBS experiments are devised and conducted and it is shown that in practice pulse compression increases the SNR, and that transmit beamforming increases backscatter intensity and reduces the intensity of interfering multipaths. The improvement in achievable SNR and the reduction in multipath interference provided by the contributions in this thesis further strengthens the importance of SBS systems and angle-of-arrival based processing, as an alternative to beamforming, in underwater three dimensional imaging and mapping.

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Keywords

sonar, swath bathymetry, pulse compression, transmit beamforming, sidescan

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