Multiarray Passive Acoustic Localization and Tracking

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Virginia Tech

Wireless sensor networks and data fusion has received increasing attention in recent years, due to the ever increasing computational power, battery and wireless technology, and proliferation of sensor modalities. Notably, the application of acoustic sensors and arrays of sensors has expanded to encompass surveillance, teleconferencing, and sound source localization in adverse environments. The ability to passively locate and track acoustic sources, be they gunfire, animals, or geological events, is crucial to a wide range of applications. The challenge addressed herein is how to best utilize the massive amount of data collected from spatially distributed sensors. Localization in two acoustic propagation scenarios is addressed: the free-field assumption and the general case. In both cases, it is found that performance is highly dependent on the array-source geometry which in turn drives the design of localization strategies.

First, the general surveillance problem including signal detection, classification, data association, localization and tracking is studied. Signal detectors are designed with a focus on robustness and capacity for real time implementation. Specifics of the data association problem relevant to acoustic measurements are addressed. Assuming free-field propagation, a localization algorithm is developed to harness some of the vast potential and robust nature of a sensor networks. In addition, a prototypical sensor network has been constructed to accompany the theoretical development, address real world situations, and demonstrate applicability. Experimental results obtained confirm the practicality of theoretical models, support numerical results, and illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed strategies and the system as a whole.

In many situations of interest, obstacles to wave propagation such as terrain or buildings exist that provide unique challenges to localization. These obstacles introduce multiple paths, diffraction, and scattering into the propagation. The second part of this dissertation investigates localization in the general propagation scenario of a multi-wave, semi-reverberant environment characteristic of urban areas. Matched field processing is introduced as a feasible method and found to offer superior performance and flexibility over time reversal techniques. The effects of uncertainty in model parameters are studied in an urban setting. Multiarray processing methods are developed and strategies to mitigate the effects of model mismatch are established.

Numerical Modeling, Signal Classification, Matched Field Processing, Sensor Networks, Acoustic Localization