A sonar transducer that can incorporate multiple elements to enable downward transmission, sideways transmission as well as forward transmission, also to include a video camera. The electronics for providing the transmit signal and for receiving echoes and processing to provide image data can be included inside the transducer or contained in an external device. The transducer is connected to a network or signal display device via a single lead. Multiple transducers may be connected to a network and accessed by multiple displays to enable a full 3 Dimensional image to be generated and supplemented by overlaid video.
Standard transducers currently contain fixed single or multiple elements and include both Chirp and non chirp variants, this restricts the customer choice for their application and limits their options in terms of installation. In addition the current transducers are very specific for their application and orientation and none include opportunities for selecting alternative elements or including a video camera / illumination option. Specific threats to vessel safety include maneuvering in restricted depths, navigating uncharted or shallow areas and shallow water pilotage as well as anchoring or mooring. The concept would allow for immediate clear identification of underwater obstacles, a complete compiled picture or graphic of thev surrounding underwater topography ‐ linked to automated selection of the most appropriate element for the direction and speed of travel.
Current installations do not respond to dynamic situations around the boat meaning that if transducers are mounted in the forward part of the hull and the boat starts to plane, this transducer will cavitate, aerate or even raise out of the water and lose all functionality. The use of multiple combined sonar and video transducers in one vessel will also enable dynamic selection of the appropriate elements depending on boat speed. The output of these transducers can be streamed to a network of displays and the signals processed to provide video overlaid on the sonar image generated around the boat.
DESCRIPTION OF THE TECHNICAL SOLUTION
The current transducers generally contain elements fixed in terms of orientation and location inside the transducer housing itself, the Combined sonar and video transducer has locations moulded into it’s structure to enable the various Chirp, Sonar, Video and illumination elements to be plugged in as required, in the necessary orientation to provide the coverage required. The housing will be faired and the element locations filled with a blank insert or the element as required. The video and illumination elements provide for low light visibility and can be added to provide for clear visibility depending on water conditions. The design will need to enable the transducer to function across a range of speeds, with cavitation and aeration being avoided to ensure reliable performance at speed. The ability to network multiple transducers will enable all hull shapes to be accommodated, both monohull and multihull, where obstructions under boat such as keel, engines, water inlets/outlets, bow thrusters, stabilisers etc could affect a single transducer, positioning multiple transducers could enable a complete 360 degree view around the boat to be interlaced together and a clear picture derived. The transducer network will need a control system to manage the output and present on a screen or network of screens. The control system will be both Automatic and manual, making use of the boat’s navigation system for speed through the water, attitude, (heel, trim, pitch and roll), GPS and date information to compensate for the attitude of the boat, location and date stamp for recording data purposes. Speed input will automatically deselect the forward mounted transducer elements as the hull rises out of the water or in rough seas, the pitch and roll attitude sensors will modify the plot to compensate for attitude. There will be a manual control to enable the auto features to be overridden.
The transducer network can be connected to networked displays, which can then network to
multifunction displays or wirelessly to an app running on a tablet/ ipad. The control box could contain the necessary attitude sensor monitoring pitch, roll, trim, heel and acceleration to provide automated responses to the data, enabling the interlaced image to be synchronized between the different elements as well as the boat heading and attitude. The control box will also store recorded logs of the data, date and position stamped for recovery at a later date. The video and illumination elements are essential for shallow water navigation, pilotage, mooring and anchoring in water ways, pilotages, harbours and anchorages and would add significant value to the transducer from a user operation perspective. The video output will be interlaced with the sonar plot to clarify and enhance images received and to enhance the underwater plot.I150134FL01 Combined Sonar Video Transducer Publication