Algorithms for propagation-aware underwater ranging and localization

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Mar Mediterráneo
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While oceans occupy most of our planet, their exploration and conservation are one of the crucial research problems of modern time. Underwater localization stands among the key issues on the way to the proper inspection and monitoring of this significant part of our world. In this thesis, we investigate and tackle different challenges related to underwater ranging and localization. In particular, we focus on algorithms that consider underwater acoustic channel properties. This group of algorithms utilizes additional information about the environment and its impact on acoustic signal propagation, in order to improve the accuracy of location estimates, or to achieve a reduced complexity, or a reduced amount of resources (e.g., anchor nodes) compared to traditional algorithms. First, we tackle the problem of passive range estimation using the differences in the times of arrival of multipath replicas of a transmitted acoustic signal. This is a costand energy- effective algorithm that can be used for the localization of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), and utilizes information about signal propagation. We study the accuracy of this method in the simplified case of constant sound speed profile (SSP) and compare it to a more realistic case with various non-constant SSP. We also propose an auxiliary quantity called effective sound speed. This quantity, when modeling acoustic propagation via ray models, takes into account the difference between rectilinear and non-rectilinear sound ray paths. According to our evaluation, this offers improved range estimation results with respect to standard algorithms that consider the actual value of the speed of sound. We then propose an algorithm suitable for the non-invasive tracking of AUVs or vocalizing marine animals, using only a single receiver. This algorithm evaluates the underwater acoustic channel impulse response differences induced by a diverse sea bottom profile, and proposes a computationally- and energy-efficient solution for passive localization. Finally, we propose another algorithm to solve the issue of 3D acoustic localization and tracking of marine fauna. To reach the expected degree of accuracy, more sensors are often required than are available in typical commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) phased arrays found, e.g., in ultra short baseline (USBL) systems. Direct combination of multiple COTS arrays may be constrained by array body elements, and lead to breaking the optimal array element spacing, or the desired array layout. Thus, the application of state-of-the-art direction of arrival (DoA) estimation algorithms may not be possible. We propose a solution for passive 3D localization and tracking using a wideband acoustic array of arbitrary shape, and validate the algorithm in multiple experiments, involving both active and passive targets.
Mención Internacional en el título de doctor
Acoustic signal-processing, Underwater acoustic communication, Underwater acoustic propagation, Algorithms, Wireless sensor networks, Marine fauna
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