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Talk-16: MOOS-Embedded Virtual Ocean: High-Fidelity Acoustic Simulation

Andrew J. Poulsen, Applied Physical Sciences, and Henrik Schmidt, MIT

A high-fidelity acoustic simulator has been developed to enable realistic simulation of array time series to test sensing/autonomy algorithms. This Virtual Ocean, capable of generating calibrated hydrophone or vector sensor array data, is fully integrated into a three-dimensional hydrodynamic array model, generating sensor time series for dynamically evolving array shape, location, and orientation. Furthermore, the simulator handles a changing number and configuration of acoustic sources, targets, and receivers while utilizing the legacy ray tracing code BELLHOP to account for ocean multipath effects. Properly modeling ambient noise is particularly important when determining the effect of noise on sensor performance, e.g., array gain can vary significantly based on the directionality of ambient noise. Embedded in the simulator is the capability to efficiently generate broadband noise for an arbitrary noise intensity distribution as a function of depth and elevation angle (azimuthally symmetric ambient noise) using theoretical expressions for the array covariance structure. This approach is ideal for modeling surface noise in situations where the array covariance expressions need to be repeatedly recomputed to account for changing array shape. Results illustrate the advantages of the proposed approach for generating high fidelity time series to model real-world complexities in an efficient, elegant manner.


  • UUVs
  • Simulation
  • Sensing