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Underwater Acoustics

What is Underwater Acoustics 

Underwater Acoustics encompasses all communications performed in an underwater environment using acoustic pressure waves as information carrying signals. Acoustics are well suited to the underwater environment because they do not suffer from the high attenuation experienced by radio waves in a conducting medium, enabling the possibility of long-range communications. However, the field is not without its own set of unique challenges. The low frequencies required for long-range communications, the long propagation times associated with transmission of acoustic waves, motion of the transceivers, and the numerous reflections and scattering caused by the surface and seabed make high data rate communications difficult in this environment. 

Why are we Interested

Underwater Acoustics have a number of interesting applications and present a number of complex challenges, which are not faced in the traditional radio environment. Overcoming these challenges is of great interest to the team at UMDCC and our industrial partners. Significant work has been done in this area but there remains a large gap between what is currently available and what is possible; our goal is to close that gap.

How are we Contributing

By starting at the fundamentals we are developing a statistical model, which encompasses all the channel impairments. With this model we will be able to develop an intelligent modem capable of adapting to the ever-changing conditions encountered in the underwater environment. To accomplish this the team is focusing primarily on the development and testing of OFDM signaling methodologies for underwater communications and advanced estimation techniques capable of tracking the constantly changing underwater environment.