FarSounder signs CRADA with NUWC Newport

Cooperative Research And Development Agreement (CRADA) Signed For Obstacle Detection and Avoidance
The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport (NUWCDIVNPT) recently signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Farsounder, Inc., a small business in Narragansett, RI, to develop a line of high-frequency forward-looking obstacle avoidance and bottom-mapping phased-array sonars for commercial and recreational vessels. As the Navy's premier laboratory for undersea and sonar systems, NUWCDIVNPT has extensive expertise and intellectual property in object detection and classification and phased array technology. Under this agreement, NUWCDIVNPT and Farsounder, Inc. will evaluate and select specific signal processing suites to transition to a commercial product. Although developed for military targets, the NUWCDIVNPT detection and classification capabilities are adaptable to marine life targets. The modified classification algorithms will incorporate sonar returns from fish and marine mammals generated by a sophisticated, WindowsTM based target signature model developed with PEO ASTO funding under the Lightweight Broadband Variable Depth Sonar (LBVDS) program. This added classification capability will expand the functionality of the Farsounder sonar product beyond mere obstacle avoidance.

As part of its mission to the local community, NUWCDIVNPT has sought cooperative teaming with Rhode Island state agencies to promote patent licensing and commercialization . The Rhode Island Slater Center for Ocean Technology, one of six non-profit organizations established by the state to foster economic development, has been instrumental in pairing NUWCDIVNPT research and development products with local business needs. The Slater Center has provided business development assistance and funds to Farsounder to support product development. Additionally, the Slater Center assisted in the progress of the CRADA and identification of NUWCDIVNPT's patented technologies that would enhance Farsounder's obstacle avoidance sonar. As a result, NUWCDIVNPT and Farsounder intend to enter into patent license agreements for the detection and classification algorithms chosen to be included in the Farsounder product.

Farsounder's initial product will allow detection of obstacles, including marine life, up to 500 meters away. Subsequent products will extend the detection range to 1000 meters. This effort should benefit the Navy's marine transport efforts, such as the Military Sealift Command, by supporting the development of a commercial product that would ensure avoidance of marine mammals and fish life, in compliance with environmental protection laws. Significant leveraging of technical resources will allow cost effective insertion within the fleet.