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Forward Facing Sonar


hairyharford

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Ocean racing yachts have always hit objects be they man made or living whilst racing or cruising. But the  problem has now been compounded now  not  only by the increase in foiling and speed but also by the reduction of crew and therefore good watch keeping. In the last few weeks Hugo Boss, Macif, and Gitana  have all 'hit unidentified objects' and smashed foils / rudders  this has not caused any loss of life but has reduced there chances of winning and therefore giving value to there sponsors ever how heroic there recoveries have been they would have still preferred to have won or broken a speed record.

It can not be beyond the wit of man for one of the electronic companies to produce a forward facing sonar to reduce collisions this would help all ocean going yachts.

 

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You remind me of my wife. "Surely somebody has invented XX". 

Yeah, if you're the US Navy, they probably have a sonar capable of seeing a log floating right in front of you and giving you enough time to avoid. But it takes 50 kW of power, weighs 2 tonnes and costs several million $$.

Maybe the market just isn't there.

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I never venture over here to ocean racing, but the title "forward facing sonar" popped up and grabbed my eye.

I was on the big grey boats and have some small knowledge of forward facing sonar.  They have been under development for decades for mine avoidance. 

Key points:

- they are expensive

- they are heavy and use a lot of power

- they need to be low and  up front.  So when the big grey boat hits something (like a dock or the bottom) they regularly get smashed up.  Your tax dollars at work.  You wanna stick a big bulb out the front of your racing yacht? 

- they kinda sorta maybe work under *IDEAL* conditions of flat calm and slow speeds.  Under these conditions they will detect anything that is a mine or looks like a mine including big fish, trash, etc.  So there are a lot of false positive results. 

Overall, for a racing sailing boat?  Nope. 

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18 minutes ago, EarthBM said:

Err, reef temp same as water temp?

 

in general, objects with different colors will have different temperatures

but water is nearly opaque to infrared radiation, so a thermal camera will work best for objects floating at or very near the surface

it's possible that if the reef got enough sunlight to get warmer, it could heat the water above it by conduction.., but if the water is well mixed, you wouldn't see it with the thermal camera

of course.., you would see it on your chart.., if you looked.

 

 

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Probably asking too much to detect a floating wet log. Almost same density as water and hidden in the clutter from the wave/air surface. This was the genius of the Wright Bros: very few things clutter the air.

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34 minutes ago, El Boracho said:

Probably asking too much to detect a floating wet log. Almost same density as water and hidden in the clutter from the wave/air surface. This was the genius of the Wright Bros: very few things clutter the air.

Ahhh, you must be Wright's bastard son then... ;)

254ca55645702102.thumb.jpg.191a8e5efdb9f09c7b27726715340870.jpg

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13 hours ago, us7070 said:

what would work better, is a drone with a thermal camera, say 200m ahead, and software to read the thermal data and trigger an alarm

and how much notice would that give a single handed sailor traveling at 25 knots?

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27 minutes ago, mad said:

and how much notice would that give a single handed sailor traveling at 25 knots?

Well, it would give you around 16 seconds to react. That could be enough if you are not asleep and not too far from the helm. But for Tris' at 40 knots, it's only 10 seconds...

By the way, what is the autonomy for a drone and a thermal cam flying at such speed ? Retreiving those toys is such a pain that I hope I wouldn't have to do it too often...

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1 minute ago, Ahstom said:

Well, it would give you around 16 seconds to react. That could be enough if you are not asleep and not too far from the helm. But for Tris' at 40 knots, it's only 10 seconds...

By the way, what is the autonomy for a drone and a thermal cam flying at such speed ? Retreiving those toys is such a pain that I wouldn't have to do it too often...

Plus you have to disengage the auto pilot and make the decision to bear away/ease sails-potentially gybe or luff up.

Case closed.

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28 minutes ago, yl75 said:

Already posted, but the thermal cam at the top of the mast "solution" is coming/already being tested :

https://www.bateaux.com/article/31957/oscar-une-camera-en-tete-de-mat-pour-surveiller-la-route

https://www.oscar-system.com/index-en

 

That is better warning nearly a minute for Imoca and 35 seconds for Ultimo which if integrated into auto pilot and emergency dump system  a few degree of course change  could give enough deviation to miss 

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5 hours ago, yl75 said:

Already posted, but the thermal cam at the top of the mast "solution" is coming/already being tested :

https://www.bateaux.com/article/31957/oscar-une-camera-en-tete-de-mat-pour-surveiller-la-route

https://www.oscar-system.com/index-en

 

1m2 at 600m, that's impressive! The collective approach with shared database is also clever. 

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5 hours ago, yl75 said:

Already posted, but the thermal cam at the top of the mast "solution" is coming/already being tested :

https://www.bateaux.com/article/31957/oscar-une-camera-en-tete-de-mat-pour-surveiller-la-route

https://www.oscar-system.com/index-en

 

The article, in French states that the beta version is currently being tested by IMOCAs and Ultims: PRB, Arkéa/Paprec, Banque Populaire, Charal, V&B Mayenne, Initiatives Cœur, MACIF… And the feedback is positive, the system even detected a crab trap float...

It uses Flir cameras (2 for night vision and 1 for daylight vision) and costs between 16 500 € and 24 000 € depending on the type of computer you hook up to it. They hope to reduce the price to around 5000 € by sourcing cameras from China.

The weight of the package at the top of the mast is 840 g (less than 2 lbs). They do not say how much the power consumption is.

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On 11/12/2019 at 6:56 AM, hairyharford said:

Ocean racing yachts have always hit objects be they man made or living whilst racing or cruising. But the  problem has now been compounded now  not  only by the increase in foiling and speed but also by the reduction of crew and therefore good watch keeping. In the last few weeks Hugo Boss, Macif, and Gitana  have all 'hit unidentified objects' and smashed foils / rudders  this has not caused any loss of life but has reduced there chances of winning and therefore giving value to there sponsors ever how heroic there recoveries have been they would have still preferred to have won or broken a speed record.

It can not be beyond the wit of man for one of the electronic companies to produce a forward facing sonar to reduce collisions this would help all ocean going yachts.

 

Care to explain where the big fucking sonar transducer gets mounted?  I’ll ignore the power requirements. 
 

edit:  keel bulb, nope. Foils, nope. Hull, nope. So where?

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On 11/12/2019 at 10:56 PM, hairyharford said:

Ocean racing yachts have always hit objects be they man made or living whilst racing or cruising. But the  problem has now been compounded now  not  only by the increase in foiling and speed but also by the reduction of crew and therefore good watch keeping. In the last few weeks Hugo Boss, Macif, and Gitana  have all 'hit unidentified objects' and smashed foils / rudders  this has not caused any loss of life but has reduced there chances of winning and therefore giving value to there sponsors ever how heroic there recoveries have been they would have still preferred to have won or broken a speed record.

It can not be beyond the wit of man for one of the electronic companies to produce a forward facing sonar to reduce collisions this would help all ocean going yachts.

 

More people are killed by Hippopotamus each year than hit things in their sailing boats. I think your money would be better spent developing a Hippo shield.

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10 hours ago, LB 15 said:

More people are killed by Hippopotamus each year than hit things in their sailing boats. 

Except sunfish during the S2H. Those cheeky buggers hunt out boats to disable.

10 hours ago, LB 15 said:

 I think your money would be better spent developing a Hippo shield.

Did you have bad experiences in your single days?

Fat-women.jpg

 

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Recently there was a video  of someone narrowly avoiding running into a whale while racing. Only a quick response from the helmsman averted the collision.

I would have thought that the noise of the stiff carbon hulls slapping the water would have given the whale the opportunity to get out of the way, but maybe that sort of noise is not understood to be a danger to the whale.

Are there any methods to create the "right" kind of noise that would give whales warning that something deadly is coming their way?

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On 11/13/2019 at 7:41 AM, EarthBM said:

Anyone with actual experience using:

- Echopilot 3D 

Yes useless for floating shit and for shit under even more useless when going at full noise.

Cruising ..narrow atoll passages and for bommies great bit of kit.

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Yann Guichard: comments on this issue in V&V (gtrans link)

Quote

Sails and Sailboats: We saw that on the Transat Jacques Vabre and Brest Atlantiques, there were many collisions with Ofni. Can we imagine that it is a permanent fear?

Yann Guichard: This is not new and today is the first cause of abandonment. When you hit something at high speed, the damage is important. Today, we do not have an effective system. This will probably exist someday. François Gabart on Macif when he went around the world in 42 days, returned without having problems on his appendages, but during the last races, we saw that it was a real worry. And we must add that with these huge foils and other drifts, you multiply the risks. We could consider having sonar, but as the boats fly and there is no small size, we must forget. There have been tests of infrared camera and Marc Guillemot worked on it with Safran. Everyone would have to work together to find a reliable system. And if you walk at 40 knots, you need something that can detect an Ofni or a fish well before 200 meters because otherwise it is already too late to react.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Alex Thomson on avoidance systems for Hugo Boss: (credit to Chasm for the find)

 

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11:16 What about object detection?

we've talked we've had a lot about sonar technology a thermal imaging is that something that you as a team will potentially now be looking to explore well definitely we have to look at whole scenario has now so so far we know we have to look at how they've killed how the keel structure failed we have to look at the loads if we can if we can understand more about the loads and we have to you know look at where we can mitigate now sonar technology is something that we yes we are looking into we have to look at it you know if we didn't we wouldn't be responsible and there are two ways of doing this in some ways you can you know there is a system that currently exists and as being interested in IMOCA fleet what's called OSCAR and it's it's looking at thermal imaging from the top of the mast looking forward to seeing you know what what potentially is in the water and I think we feel that what we hit was under the water so so I'm not sure that any thermal imaging on top of the mast is gonna help that scenario so we are looking at what exists in a sonar world and and you know there are there are different levels we're nowhere near finished our our review of that but it starts from you know essentially fish finding all the way through to you know I guess there are there's torpedo in a military torpedo so now so you know you could be looking at something up from a few hundred pounds to a few million pounds and there's the weights of it there's the distances there's the power you know there's a vast range I do think we're getting close to the point where there is going to be something suitable within the next four or five years perhaps are we there now we definitely don't know what's important to us now is the range the range and probably the power are the two biggest points obviously we need to stick it in that in the bulb of the keel because if that's the bit that's always going to be under the water nowadays these boats are quite a lot out of the water so it has to go the bulb of the keel in terms of distance well if you think when you're when you're traveling at 20 knots that's you know circa 10 meters a second so if we can see a 100 meters then I've got 10 seconds to deal with it so there's an argument to say well or a discussion around how long is you know I would think for me 150 to 200 meters is probably the minimum that's gonna be any use at all and then what do you want to see do you want to hear an alarm do you want to see something an image it should be 2d should it be 3d what about alarms you know around power you know if you imagine if we're using on average two to three hundred watts of power generally on the boat you know if you're looking at system that's four or five hundred Watts immediately that'd make it might make it very difficult so we've got to look at it all there's lots of discussions going on but I think ultimately I think the right solution is as longer-term we will see a sonar in the in the bulb and hopefully we will be able to mitigate some of these risks of course you're never gonna meet to get all of them but you know that there is rubbish in the sea there are big mammals in the sea there are containers in the sea and really it's our responsibility to try and avoid all of these

 

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Whomever wrote that has been too close to RF energy for way too long.

 

 

No punctuation, all lowercase and wtf does this mean: "we've talked we've had a lot about sonar technology a thermal imaging ..."  It, he, she lost me there, and I usually like tech talk.

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7 minutes ago, Varan said:

Whomever wrote that has been too close to RF energy for way too long.

No punctuation, all lowercase and wtf does this mean: "we've talked we've had a lot about sonar technology a thermal imaging ..."  It, he, she lost me there, and I usually like tech talk.

LOL--it's from the transcript of the vid :D

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/12/2019 at 1:41 PM, EarthBM said:

Anyone with actual experience using:

- Echopilot 3D 

- B&G forward scan

- Garmin Panoptix Forward

- Raymarine 3D transducers with Axiom?

And Interphase 20 yrs back. 
 

it works, for either finding the edge of the channel (dredged) or a piece of submerged ledge ahead. 
you can image 4-5x water depth ahead. In calm water without pitching. 
 

At hull speed, heeled, in waves, not as useful. 
 

very useful for threading up a shallow narrow and winding channel. The sort where the local boat makes a left turn at the plastic jug. 
 

the modern transducer is <50mm, prism to reflect beam forward. 
 

we use it to see the edge of the estuary when holding our tacks as long as possible, it’s a boat length ahead of the normal depth. 

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On 11/12/2019 at 10:57 AM, silent bob said:

 

Maybe they can put 500 meter Carbon Curb Ticklers in the bow?!

curb-feelers-protecting-whitewall-tiers-

I'm with you on your signature, cracking me up. I mean, I hate to be mean, but they make it so easy...

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The OSCAR system info is pretty light on detail. Given the price I would not be expecting much capability in the FLIR system used. You don't get much resolution or signal to noise until you pay serious money, and then you run into dual use technology restrictions. 

This is what real systems look like: https://www.safran-electronics-defense.com/naval-solutions/surface-vessels/surveillance-and-fire-control-systems

The video promo only suggests an ability to avoid objects of the order of other boats and floating containers. Which is a long way from the requirements mooted. To be fair, it isn't exactly an easy task. Modern commodity AI is well suited to video recognition tasks, and picking a boat or container from waves, breaking and rolling, is a good use. Training up a commodity neural net processor system for the task is quite reasonable. The fun part is tuning the system to balance false positives.  

But beyond that, and things are going to get difficult fast. Something barely afloat with waves breaking over it is going to be a much harder task. OTOH, there are aspects of AI techniques that could do a better job at this than a human. But you need the input data to be good enough, and as above, the OSCAR system is going to be pretty limited on this front.

As to detecting mammals by their heat signature, I don't think there is any chance. Minimally you will need a cooled FLIR, which is a whole step up in cost, weight and complexity, and not trivial to obtain even if you have the money. Even then, there is no chance of seeing them beneath the water, only when breaching, and that isn't going to be enough. 

For races like the VG, where we saw boats taken out of the running by actually running into other boats or large buoys whilst their skippers slept, well there is a case. But I doubt the technology is going to help much avoiding cetaceans or the detritus of modern society.

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