Sea Technology

JUN 2014

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www.sea-technology.com June 2014 / st 15 of the seafoor beneath it (±100 meters swath width). Although optimized for deployments be- tween 7 and 10 meters above the seabed, Solstice can perform well anywhere from 4 to 20 me- ters. In particular, real-world tri- als have shown that Solstice is able to provide bathymetry in ex- tremely shallow-water areas (even down to 2 meters) where the use of multibeam systems would be hazardous and time consuming. The imagery produced by Solstice is designed to be of the highest quality possible from conventional sonar. The sonar A lthough AUVs have been more routinely de- ployed for military, maritime security, oceano- graphic research, mapping, environmental monitor- ing and other underwater surveying applications, the sonar technologies that they are equipped with have yet to be fully optimized. However, Solstice— Sonardyne's (Yateley, England) new generation of search-and-classify side scan sonar with integrated swath bathymetry—has been developed without compromise for AUV deployment and specifcally optimized for shallow-water environments. Considerable market research has revealed that users not only want a system that will compete with the resolution and performance of a synthetic aper- ture sonar (SAS), but also has the opera- tional benefts and costs associated with conventional side scan. Additionally, it should be ultralow power to increase the operational capability of the host platform and modular, enabling the sys- tem to be optimized for any platform, large or small. Equally important is the ability of the system to be operable by a broad range of users, providing a new capability for applications as diverse as habitat monitoring and broad change detection in maritime security scenari- os. To understand Solstice, one must put aside any preconceived ideas about side scan. Sonardyne has created a seabed imaging tool that has transitioned some of the juicy bits from SAS technology, such as auto-calibration and back-pro- jection imaging, into a new design that rivals the SAS system for performance but can be operated as simply and cost effectively as a con- ventional side scan. Designed for use on a variety of underwater platforms, Solstice is a low-power (only 18 watts), compact sonar that provides world-class imagery and coregistered bathymetry Pixel-Perfect Imaging Improved Imagery From Side Scan Sonar By Nick Swift Recent trials have produced this high-reso- lution image of a wrecked tug vessel. This image was taken in a single run of the site, in water depths of approximately 7 meters. (Bottom) A close-up of the above image. JUN2014.indd 15 6/4/14 12:32 PM

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