The use of sonar as a navigation aid is decades old, but the basic technology has had limited advancement during that time.
With the help of a $2m grant from National Institute of Standards and Technology, Warwick, Rhode Island-based FarSounder aims to change all that, by developing a long-range/high-speed navigation and obstacle avoidance sonar to improve the efficiency and safety of marine cargo transport vessels.
The new sonar system will be developed over the next three years. The system will be forward-looking, giving the ship’s pilot a real-time, 3D view (direction, range, and depth) of obstacles up to 3.2km away for vessels travelling at up to 65 km/hr (35 knots) – all capabilities, the company claim, which are beyond the capabilities of current commercial sonar systems.
FarSounder estimates that, when fully deployed ,such a system could reap economic benefits of up to $500m a year through increased efficiency, reduced insurance costs, and reduced accident rates, not counting the benefits of increased passenger safety and reduced environmental damage.