Israeli researchers develop sonar system to identify marine threats

Researchers at the University of Haifa developed an innovative underwater sonar system, propagating omni-directional acoustic signals from a single transceiver to identify potential threats.

By
August 18, 2019 09:00
2 minute read.
Israeli researchers develop sonar system to identify marine threats

Dr. Roee Diamant of the University of Haifa tests his innovative sonar system for the detection of hostile scuba divers. (photo credit: COURTESY HAIFA UNIVERSITY)

Researchers at the University of Haifa have partnered with NATO and scientists in Spain and Canada to develop an innovative sonar system for the detection of hostile scuba divers and submerged mines.

The collaboration was created and funded by NATO’s Science for Peace and Security (SPS) initiative, which aims to facilitate mutually beneficial cooperation on issues of common interest, including international efforts to meet emerging security challenges by NATO member states and partners.

Aiming to advance solutions for the security of marine infrastructure, a team of engineers led by Dr. Roee Diamant, head of the Underwater Acoustic and Navigation Laboratory at the University of Haifa’s Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, teamed up with partners at Madrid’s IMDEA Networks Institute and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

To detect hostile scuba divers, who may be deployed to sabotage sensitive marine infrastructure including offshore gas rigs or harbors, the researchers developed an innovative underwater sonar system, propagating omni-directional acoustic signals from a single transceiver to identify potential threats.

A complex algorithm identifies the acoustic reflections picked up by the transceiver to differentiate between static objects, random reflections such as waves, and mobile targets.
“We know how to measure the speed of the target, its heading, its depth and also the size of it,” Diamant told The Jerusalem Post.

“All these measurements are indicators that the target is a scuba diver rather than a dolphin, for example. This capability is achieved using only one transceiver, which is our greatest advantage compared to current solutions.”

Unlike their mobile transceiver, Diamant said existing underwater security solutions on the market require the underwater construction of large, fixed infrastructure and the connection of a permanent power source. Existing solutions also often misread schools of fish and pods of dolphins as potentially hostile targets, he added.

“We have tested our system in more than 50 experiments, both in the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea near Eilat,” said Diamant. “We’re also going to do experiments in Vancouver Island.”

In addition to the solution offering detection of scuba divers, designed by Diamant’s laboratory, the project partners have also developed a system to detect submerged mines through the deployment of unmanned, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) equipped with an acoustic modem.

“The different universities are in charge of different aspects of the technology,” Diamant explained. “The localization of the target, for example, is being done in Spain. Once we identify a submerged mine, we transmit the image of the target using underwater communication designed in Canada.”

As intellectual property rights for the solution belong to the partners in the project, the researchers are now aiming to raise awareness of the system, calling on companies to commercialize their work and turn the technology into an off-the-shelf product.


Related Content

August 20, 2019
Delay in delivery of flu vaccines, to arrive in Israel in November

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF

Cookie Settings