Tables 6.8 and 6.9 summarize the information gathered during the visits. Table 6.8 summarizes the organizations working on or developing specific acoustic systems. It is not felt to be a complete representation of the institutes, but rather a reflection of the information discussed during the WTEC visits. Table 6.9 also summarizes the results of those discussions in terms of the specific application areas considered at the institutes. The users defined in the tables are those implied by the researchers during the visits.
As with any effort such as this, there are undoubtedly omissions and mistakes, especially when the data obtained during the site visits was far from complete. It is possible, however, to draw some conclusions regarding perceptions of trends in technology and the interests of the organizations visited.
Ecological and environmental applications are a primary area under consideration for applying existing and new technology. Current awareness and concern for environmental issues in Russia and Ukraine was apparent in several visits. The environment is seen as an area where existing technology can solve some problems that exist there. Water quality, noise pollution, acceptable standards for the impact of technology and industry on the environment, and a number of other issues were discussed.
Low Cost Systems. It was clear during the discussions in both the FSU and in Western Europe that the cost of technology was a factor to be considered in future applications. The low cost sonar systems offered by Tritech were of interest to all. The technology has advanced to a point where new techniques and hardware promise significant capability at a far lower cost than has been the case for existing sonar systems and other acoustic equipment. In Russia and Ukraine there was a clear sensitivity to price and its importance to Western markets. Actual costing of possible systems to be produced in the FSU seemed nonexistent. The proposed price of a system seemed to be an arbitrary figure somehow related to the current pricing structure outside of the FSU. Nevertheless, the cost of a system was recognized as of primary concern. In Europe, the Marconi ODAS system development efforts focus on a low price tag.
Long Endurance. As is shown in the previous tables, some transponder systems have quoted endurances of multiple years. In some of the institutes visited, projects were directed at increasing the endurance of other autonomous instrumentation. In Europe, the Autosub program seeks 7,000 km transits; the French have focused some of their work on long range systems. Endurance is an important design consideration for acoustic transponders and other instrumentation under development.
A Summary of Application Focus and User Community
* Kor = Oceanpribor (Korvet Oceanpribor)
Higher Resolution. Several institutions focused on higher resolution acoustic information. In Europe, interest in higher resolution sonar imaging systems is very visible. At Strathclyde University, MTD is funding an effort to develop more accurate position data for undersea tasks. In Russia and Ukraine, the term "super resolution" acoustic data was emphasized. Improvements to existing technology are clearly focused on increasing the resolution of acoustic systems either with new hardware techniques or with advanced sonar signal processing and high-speed algorithms.
Efficient Sonar Signal Processing. Computer hardware available to researchers in Russia and Ukraine has been limited. Researchers have had to understand clearly the problems they encountered, adjusting their techniques to optimize the processing that had to be accomplished. This has led to development of new methods for processing acoustic data that seem to be more efficient than those in the United States and other countries.
A Summary of Organizations Involved in System Design