The technology collaboration between Materials Systems Inc. (MSI) and FarSounder Inc. continues to generate new customer orders for the FS-3 Forward-Looking Obstacle Avoidance System. Each FS-3 system delivered by FarSounder has incorporated a curved, custom-designed MSI broadband transmitter and multi-element receive array to provide advanced yet economical 3-D obstacle avoidance and shallow water navigation capabilities for ferries, cruise ships, and yachts.

Recent FS-3 customers include ResidenSea's The World, the first luxury condominium cruise ship; two high-speed "hybrid" passenger ferries operated by the San Francisco Bay Area Water Transit Authority (WTA); and a Survey Motor Vessel for the Royal Australian Navy. According to FarSounder CEO, Cheryl Zimmerman, "FS-3 customers are primarily concerned with the safety of passengers, as well as whale avoidance. With the recent sinking of the passenger ship Explorer in the Antarctic, vessel owner/operators like ResidenSea and the WTA are feeling an added sense of responsibility to use the latest in navigation safety equipment."

The FS-3 System overcomes the limitations of conventional 2-D obstacle avoidance systems, which can only provide range and bearing or range and depth. MSI's array and FarSounder's processing technology enable the FS-3 to create a three-dimensional, high resolution, 90 degree image with each ping, providing an updated display every 1-2 seconds. As a result, the FS-3 simultaneously provides all range, bearing, and depth information needed to rapidly detect obstacles and navigate in shallow water.