Repeat-pass synthetic aperture sonar micro-navigation using redundant phase center arrays

Alan J. Hunter, Samantha Dugelay, Warren L. J. Fox

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In this paper, a new algorithm is introduced for high-precision underwater navigation using the coherent echo signals collected during repeat-pass synthetic aperture sonar (SAS) surveys. The algorithm is a generalization of redundant phase center (RPC) micronavigation, expanded to RPCs formed between overlapping pings in repeated passes. For each set of overlapping ping pairs (two intrapass and three interpass), five different RPC arrays can be formed to provide estimates of the vehicle's surge, sway, and yaw. These estimates are used to find a weighted least squares solution for the trajectories of the repeated passes. The algorithm can estimate the relative trajectories to subwavelength precision (on order of millimeters to hundreds of micrometers at typical SAS operating frequencies of hundreds of kilohertz) in a common coordinate frame. This will lead to improved focusing and coregistration for repeat-pass SAS interferometry and is an important step toward repeat-pass bathymetric mapping. The repeat-pass RPC micronavigation algorithm is demonstrated using data collected by the 300-kHz SAS of the NATO Center for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE) Minehunting Unmanned underwater vehicle for Shallow water Covert Littoral Expeditions (MUSCLE).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)820-830
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering
Issue number4
Early online date12 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2016


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