Currently, the main application of commercially available three-dimensional forward looking sonar (3D FLS) technology is for real-time vessel navigation. Using 3D FLS technology, the vessel operator can detect not only the range and bearing to a navigational hazard, but also the depth of the hazard in the water column. However, 3D FLS is itself a nascent technology for which many exciting applications are yet to be realized. In this work, the current applications of 3D FLS are surveyed, and some useful metrics for the evaluation of a 3D FLS are defined. New possible applications of 3D FLS are introduced. Performance for all known commercially available 3D FLS products according the FLS metrics previously defined is summarized. Finally, some of the differences in applicability for current and emerging applications of the most robust 3D FLS systems are discussed.
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