Acoustic Situational Awareness for USVs

By Mike Ball / 15 Sep 2021
Follow UST

Acoustic situational awareness for USVs

McQ Inc. has confirmed that it is providing its SonoWatch acoustic lookout system for use in an unmanned surface vessel (USV) for a United States Department of Defense (DoD) customer. SonoWatch is an autonomous system that detects, identifies, and determines the navigation meaning of acoustic signals to provide autonomous collision avoidance for vessels such as USVs.

SonoWatch is compact, sealed for operation in maritime environments, and ruggedized for the shock and vibration experienced on water. SonoWatch provides high fidelity acoustic signal capture with advanced processing to provide accurate signal characterization, even in the presence of engine noise, wind and rain.

SonoWatch provides notification of naval navigation acoustic alerts for the safe operation of surface vessels. The SonoWatch system consists of a 360° field of view acoustic array with a below deck unit that processes the array data and displays the information on a user interface. The system’s high-sensitivity microphone array provides long range detection, accurate line of bearing to the source, and identification of navigational signals. McQ has developed signal processing algorithms to uniquely classify maritime navigation signals.

The SonoWatch platform has been designed to integrate new sensing capabilities and features to meet the future requirements of the Navy and other potential customers. These capabilities could include detection and classification of watercraft engines and land-based detection and classification of vehicles and aircraft.

Augmenting the SonoWatch Acoustic Situation Awareness system is a new small McQ CONNECT product that provides global data communications from any land- or sea-based location in the world. McQ CONNECT takes advantage of the new Certus machine-to-machine data service Iridium is initiating this year that can deliver data and information from static or mobile systems and provide command and control to these systems. McQ CONNECT links the SonoWatch system on an unmanned watercraft to a user display on either manned marine watercraft or land-based sites. McQ CONNECT provides IP communications from remote systems to distributed users and command and control to the system from the user.

Find USV manufacturers & suppliers >>

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact