FarSounder's Technology Blog

From time to time, FarSounder's development team likes to toot their own horn and tell the world about some of the cool things they are working on. We can't share all our secrets and development plans, but we can share some of the excitement that our engineers experience every day working for FarSounder.

August 20, 2015
Dual Navigation Sonar
Forward looking sonars significantly add to a ship's situational awareness when moving forward. But what about when the vessel is moving astern? With more and more yachts, workboats, expedition class passenger vessels, and arctic explorers being outfit with azimuth thrusters and advanced DP, larger vessels are finding their way into tight places with a need to back up. If you need an obstacle avoidance sonar to make your way in, sometimes you need one to make your way out - especially with the reduced situational awareness of the bridge facing forward and the vessel running astern.
March 16, 2015
expanded chart overlay
Early in FarSounder’s development, we added a raster chart display to help our engineers correlate what we saw in the sonar display with what was in the real world. The raster chart display evolved to a vector chart display. Soon after that, we started displaying in-water targets on top of the chart. Now, with the release of SonaSoft 3.0, our software includes an expanded overlay with the complete 3D sonar image. The seafloor and in-water targets are shown with the same colors as the 3D Sonar Display as an overlay on top of the chart data. Many users will find that the C-Map Chart Display will become their primary display rather than the 3D Sonar Display since it shows a more complete situational awareness with both chart and sonar data.
March 13, 2015
Look Ma, No Hands! - used under creative commons license: https://www.flickr.com/photos/29233640@N07/7762799686
One of the exciting characteristics of our 3D FLS products is that with each release of our software we unleash more and more of the sonar sensor hardware’s full potential. This means that our performance and capabilities will continue to get even better via software updates without requiring new sensor hardware. Over the past year, the FarSounder engineering team has been focusing on improving our automated sonar processing algorithms and image quality. We’re excited to announce our next generation auto-squelch and bottom detection algorithms.
March 10, 2015
FarSounder's New Color Scale
With the launch of SonaSoft 3.0, we’ve decided to make a paradigm shift in how we display our sonar data. Previously, our software always used a colormap based on jet (a.k.a “rainbow”) for both depth and signal level color mapping. Not only did this prevent displaying depth and signal level information in a single display, the colormap itself was not optimal. We now use two separate colormaps for depth and signal level. A multi-color, uniform luminance gradient colormap is used to indicate depth while an orange-copper colormap is used to indicate signal level.
January 10, 2015
FarSounder's Acoustic Test Tank
We’ve just completed the finishing touches on a brand new test tank facility in our main office. Our primary motivation for building this new facility was to increase our production productivity since every sonar unit we produce is tank tested and calibrated before shipment. Our previous tank was located in a warehouse about 3 miles (~5 km) from our offices. Compared to our old tank, the new one is larger, deeper, and WAY more convenient.
October 17, 2014
diver detection for yachts
As the size and complexity of large yachts has evolved, so has the level of sophistication of their security systems. Simply having door locks and a few cameras is no longer suitable for today’s largest super-yachts. Common security equipment includes: thermal and night vision cameras, motion sensors, deck pressure sensors, RFID based access controls, and high resolution radars. FarSounder’s Ship Protection System adds underwater surveillance to the suite of sensors available to a yacht’s security team. Such a large variety of data sources can easily overwhelm crew. In such cases, a well thought-out, integrated security solution is required.
June 6, 2014
FarSounder sonar installed properly - Image by Design Studio Spadolini

Last year we discussed issues to consider when installing FarSounder sonars on a high speed vessel. In that post, we examined various hydrodynamic effects as well as practical considerations when evaluating sonar domes. Sonar domes are often used to reduce the drag of large, low frequency military sonars. In short, sonar domes are expensive and complicated. Fortunately, with a well designed installation, FarSounder sonars have no need for a sonar dome. This blog posting summarizes why domes are sometimes used with other sonar technologies and why our products don’t require them.

April 25, 2014
FarSounder-500 Transducer Module

In September 2012 we launched our FarSounder-500 3D navigation sonar. This system replaced our FS-3DT product and offers longer range, wider field of view at long range, and better image quality than its predecessor. The FarSounder-500 has the same mechanical footprint as the FS-3DT. It uses the same transducer array and stainless steel pressure case which means existing FS-3DT users can easily upgrade their system to a FarSounder-500 for a fraction of the cost of a new FarSounder-500. Upgrading to our latest product allows existing customers to take advantage of the newest software features which offer a significantly improved user experience as compared to the FS-3DT. Let us walk you through the processes.

April 11, 2014
Chart Overlay of 3D sonar data

All winter we’ve been busy working on the next generation of our navigation sonar capabilities. Image quality and user experience have been our primary focus, and this fall we’re launching a major software update for our 3D forward looking sonar products. Though you’ll need to wait for SMM and the Monaco Yacht Show for the official launch to learn about all the new features, we gave a sneak peek of some of them at our recent customer demos and technical training class.

February 19, 2014
3D FLS navigating near shore

Forward-looking 3D navigation sonars have been available as an off-the-shelf tool for mariners since 2006. These products have a track record proving themselves as valuable navigation tools. These products have improved safety and operational efficiencies in a variety of marine environments. Historically, FLS technology has not been integrated into bridge systems and our products are often installed at the request of ship operators, captains and vessel owners as separate stand alone systems. The time is ripe for navigation sonar to become more recognized on the bridge and its use should be integrated into standard operating procedures.

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