DOI: 10.3390/jmse11091661 ISSN:

A Distributed Intelligent Buoy System for Tracking Underwater Vehicles

Mengzhuo Liu, Jifeng Zhu, Xiaohe Pan, Guolin Wang, Jun Liu, Zheng Peng, Jun-Hong Cui
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Civil and Structural Engineering

Underwater vehicles play a crucial role in various underwater applications, such as data collection in underwater sensor networks, target detection and tracking, and underwater pipeline monitoring. Real-time acquisition of their states, particularly their location and velocity, is vital for their operation and navigation. Consequently, the development of a remote tracking system to monitor these states is essential. In this paper, we propose a system that can track the underwater vehicle’s location and velocity. We take a systematic approach that encompasses the system architecture, system composition, signal processing, and mobility state estimation. We present the system architecture and define its components, along with their relationships and interfaces. The beacon signal employed in the system features dual-hyperbolic-frequency-modulated (HFM) waveform and an OFDM symbol with cyclic prefix (CP). Based on this beacon signal, we demonstrate how signal processing techniques are utilized to precisely determine the time of arrival and reduce false alarm rates in underwater acoustic channels affected by impulsive noise. Additionally, we explain how the CP-OFDM symbol is used to measure the Doppler scaling factor and transmit essential information for localization and velocity estimation purposes. Utilizing the measurements obtained through signal processing, least squares estimators are used for estimating both the location and velocity. To validate the effectiveness of our approach, we implement the system and conduct field trials. Two separate experiments were conducted in which the diagonal lengths of the square topology were designed to be 1000 m and 800 m. The minimum/maximum root mean square error of localization in the first and second experiment is 2.36/2.91 m and 1.47/2.49 m, respectively. And the minimum/maximum root mean square error of velocity estimation in the first and second experiment is 0.16/0.47 m/s and 0.21/0.76 m/s, respectively. Results confirm the effectiveness of the proposed method in estimating the location and velocity of the underwater vehicle. Overall, this paper provides a practical and effective design of a system to track the location and velocity of underwater vehicles. By leveraging the proposed system, signal processing, and mobility state estimation methods, our work offers a systematic solution. And, the successful field experiment serves as evidence of the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed system, making it a valuable contribution to the field of tracking underwater vehicles.

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