Cooperative Underwater Surveillance Networks (COUSIN)

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Electronics


Underwater monitoring and surveillance (UMS) for a country surrounded by sea is an exceptionally important task. Important applications include port/harbour security, pollution monitoring, people trafficking, smuggling, maintaining integrity and detecting attacks on underwater infrastructure. The purpose of such systems is to detect, localise and classify underwater targets, and communicate this information to the authorities. The targets can be manned or unmanned underwater and surface vehicles, sources of pollution, mines, pipelines, cables, divers, swimmers, animals, etc.

Surveillance has been traditionally based on using surface ships and manned submarines, which are very costly to operate. Due to the physical properties of water, UMS systems, in the majority of cases, exploit acoustic waves. Sound navigation and ranging (SONAR) is a key technology for underwater imaging and target detection, and is an equivalent technology to radio detection and ranging (RADAR) which is widely used in above water environments.

Recent developments in underwater acoustic (UWA) communication networks, underwater robotics and vehicles make it timely to consider the development of cooperative UWA networks based on the use of low-cost static and moving sensor (including SONAR) nodes. Our hypothesis is that such networks can significantly enhance performance and reduce the cost of surveillance operations, and that UMS sonar, communication and navigation systems must be jointly designed and optimised to achieve the greatest performance. Given recent developments in radio systems for surveillance, it is clear that significant advances can be similarly achieved in UMS systems.

Our aim in this project is to investigate and practically demonstrate (at sea) novel joint designs of low-cost UWA networks for enhanced UMS. This will build upon our experience and recent collaborative success in the theoretical research and practical design of UWA sensor networks at the respective universities.


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