Acoustic Signature Bundling for Classification
Navy SBIR 2015.1 - Topic N151-074
ONR - Ms. Lore-Anne Ponirakis -
Opens: January 15, 2015 - Closes: February 25, 2015 6:00am ET

N151-074 TITLE: Acoustic Signature Bundling for Classification

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Information Systems, Sensors

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: Passive Sonar Automation Technology EC; PMS 485, Fixed Surveillance System

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

OBJECTIVE: Develop an algorithm and approach to determine the acoustic signature (Broadband, Narrowband, and Intermittent) for sonar contacts. Future systems will require automation with conditional probabilistic reasoning across distributed sensor fields. Advances are sought in acoustic signature bundling to enable automation of detection, classification, localization & tracking of acoustic and non-acoustic contacts so as to significantly reduce the operational workload associated with contact evaluation.

DESCRIPTION: Current Navy tactical and surveillance sonar systems include automation to simplify operational tasking, yet often still require all key detections and assertions to be controlled and managed by the trained operators. Burdens placed on trained operators are only increasing in light of (a) expansions in system implementations and in the number of beams requiring review, (b) improvements in beamformer-based target detection capabilities, (c) proliferation of clutter-like contacts through which an operator must sort, (d) increases in operational training costs, and (e) simultaneous reductions in force. Operational workload requirements are now a key inhibitor of system implementation and deployment options, and are key components of system life-cycle costs. The Navy is in need of improved autonomous system concepts that significantly reduce required operator involvement and that ultimately enable fully autonomous implementation. At present, the sonar operator analyzes contact followers manually. An ongoing Enabling Capability project will produce meta-data tags for a set of surface ship generated signals that could confuse submarine classification algorithms. This topic pursues a more desirable approach for signal association for spectral classification.

PHASE I: Determine technical feasibility of the proposed approach with the goal to correctly associate all acoustic evidence presented from an individual sonar contact. Develop a concept for contact component tracking and association/bundling, integrated attribute estimation, and data association and classification processing that is applicable to large sensor fields. Demonstrate the feasibility of the concept in meeting Navy needs and establish that the concept can be developed into a useful product for the Navy. Feasibility will be established by analytical modeling and/or analysis. Provide a Phase II development plan that addresses technical risk reduction and provides performance goals and key technical milestones.

PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I and the Phase II development plan, develop a prototype for evaluation. The prototype will be evaluated to determine its capability in meeting the performance goals defined in Phase II development plan and Navy requirements for automated detection, classification, localization, and tracking across a field of sensors, with full association, re-acquisition, and behavioral reasoning capabilities. System performance will be demonstrated through prototype evaluation with operational data and modeling or analytical methods over the required range of parameters. Evaluation results will be used to refine the prototype into an initial design that will meet Navy requirements. Prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology to Navy use.

PHASE III: If Phase II is successful, the small business will be expected to support the Navy in transitioning the technology for Navy use with Fixed Surveillance Systems. The company will refine automation, data association, and classification processing techniques according to the Phase III development plan for evaluation to determine its effectiveness in an operationally relevant environment. The small business will support the Navy for testing and validation to certify and qualify the system for Navy use as part of the Integrated Undersea Surveillance System.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Automated signature bundling is expected to be fully applicable to arbitrary suites of sensors, including mobile unmanned aerial vehicle/unmanned underwater vehicles/ UAV/UUV sensors operating either independently or jointly with other distributed sensors. Applications within the medical industry are also anticipated, where, for example, multiple ultrasonic transducers are used for tracking anomalies in tissue.

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KEYWORDS: Fixed System, acoustic surveillance, workload reduction, undersea dominance

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