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University of York is leading the Cooperative Underwater Surveillance Networks (COUSIN) project

Posted on 9 December 2020

The COUSIN project aims to investigate and practically demonstrate (at sea) novel joint designs of low-cost underwater acoustic (UWA) networks for enhanced underwater monitoring and surveillance (UMS).

COUSIN is a £1.5m project led by Professor Paul Mitchell and Dr Yuriy Zakharov in the Department of Electronic Engineering. The project is funded by the EPSRC and is in collaboration with Dr Adrian Bors (Computer Science), Newcastle University and the University of Sheffield. It will start in January 2021 and run for three years.

UMS for a country surrounded by sea is an exceptionally important task. Important applications include port/harbour security, pollution monitoring, people trafficking, smuggling, maintaining integrity and detecting attacks on underwater infrastructure. The purpose of such systems is to detect, localise and classify underwater targets, and communicate this information to the authorities.

Sound navigation and ranging (SONAR) is a key technology for underwater imaging and target detection, and is an equivalent technology to radio detection and ranging (RADAR) which is widely used in above water environments.

Recent developments in UWA communication networks, underwater robotics and vehicles make it timely to consider the development of cooperative UWA networks based on the use of low-cost static and moving sensor (including SONAR) nodes. The hypothesis is that such networks can significantly enhance performance and reduce the cost of surveillance operations, and that UMS sonar, communication and navigation systems must be jointly designed and optimised to achieve the greatest performance.

Given recent developments in radio systems for surveillance, it is clear that significant advances can be similarly achieved in UMS systems. The research will build upon York’s experience and recent collaborative success in the theoretical research and practical design of UWA sensor networks at the respective universities.