Researchers have developed an underwater acoustic system locate marine mammals, underwater vehicles and other sound sources in the ocean, using no more than a single hydrophone (basically an underwater microphone) as a receiver.

Understanding the oceans is essential to the future of our planet. Acoustic wireless information transmission through the oceans is one of the technologies enabling the development of future ocean-observation systems, a stepping stone towards gaining a better perception of so many pivotal issues to which the oceans may hold the key.

This new research is developing a simpler, more efficient and less costly system for locating sound sources in the sea.

As conventional localisation techniques such as those used in GPS-like systems cannot be directly ported to an underwater scenario. The new system relies on information about the variation of submarine topography, of the depths and shapes of underwater terrain – the bathymetry. The result, after the calculations have been cleared of residual noise, offers a close estimate of the trajectory of the source of sound under examination.

The researchers are from IMDEA Networks in Spain in collaboration with Israel’s University of Haifa.

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