Detector Array Design for Optical Communication Between Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs)


Designs for an optical sensor detector array for use in autonomous control of unmanned underwatervehicles (UUVs), or between UUVs and docking station, are studied in this paper. Here, various opticaldetector arrays are designed for the purpose of determining and distinguishing relative 5 degrees-of-freedom (DOF) motion between UUVs: 3-DOF translation and 2-DOF rotation (pitch and yaw). In this paper, a numerically based simulator is developed to evaluate varying detector array designs. The simulator includes a single light source as a guiding beacon for a variety of UUV motion types. The output images of the light field intersecting the detector array are calculated based on detector hardware characteristics, the optical properties of water, and expected noise sources. Using the simulator, the performance of planar and curved detector array designs (of varying size arrays) are analytically compared and evaluated. Output images are validated using empirical in situ measurements conducted in underwater facilities at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA. Results of this study show that the optical detector array is able to distinguish relative 5-DOF motion with respect to the simulator light source. Furthermore, tests confirm that the proposed detector array design is able to distinguish positional changes of 0.2 m and rotational changes of 10 within 4–8 m range in x-axis based on given output images.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

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IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering

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Journal Article


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