Kraken Announces Ultra High Definition Gap Filler


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Kraken Robotics Inc., Canada’s Ocean Company, is pleased to announce the development of an innovative gap filler solution for unmanned underwater vehicles based on the company’s AquaPix® Synthetic Aperture Sonar (SAS) and SeaVision® 3D laser scanner. This solution fills the nadir gap with ultra-high definition data. The gap filler will be available for customer implementation in Q4 2020.   

Leveraging our background in SAS and underwater laser imaging systems, Kraken has developed two integrated nadir gap-filling technologies

  • An acoustic gap reducer, based on Kraken’s AquaPix® system, which drastically reduces the size of the nadir gap while maintaining full SAS resolution.
  • An optical laser/camera gap filler, based on Kraken’s SeaVision® system, which fills the remainder of the nadir gap with ultra-high-resolution optical imagery and laser bathymetry.

These gap filling technologies maximize the area coverage rate for high speed towed systems, such as Kraken’s KATFISH, as well as autonomous underwater vehicles.

In mine warfare, it is well known that the probability of detecting and classifying a target increases with improving image resolution.  NATO criteria show that the probability of correct classification is directly proportional to the number of pixels displayed per target.  Any resolution coarser than 5 cm produces an unacceptably high rate of false alarms.  Furthermore, high resolution must be achieved across the entire swath and in both the along track and across track directions simultaneously because a mine may be placed in any position or orientation relative to the sonar. SAS and optical sensors are the only technologies that can meet these requirements for high resolution survey applications while maintaining high area coverage rates.  Kraken’s SeaVision® system collects 3D laser profiles and camera imagery simultaneously. The optical gap fill data can also be used for simultaneous in-stride target identification once a mine-like object has been detected and classified.

Karl Kenny, Kraken President and CEO said, “I’m very proud of our science and engineering teams who have developed an ultra high-definition gap filler for seabed survey.  This is world-class technology. Gap filling has been a major concern of Kraken’s customers conducting mine countermeasure operations for many years. Gap-filling has been previously attempted using forward looking sonars and multibeam echosounders, and more recently new technologies have been released based on using forward steered real-aperture sidescan sonars.  However, for mine countermeasures, the pixel resolution and area coverage rates are insufficient.” 

“Even though other sonar technologies can acoustically fill the nadir gap, there is still a notable quality gap due to range dependent resolution. Kraken’s customers and partners in the MCM industry spoke, and we listened: the imagery is simply not good enough. This drove our team to develop our new Ultra High Definition gap filling innovations. Furthermore, most gap filling technologies also claim that they improve survey time by approximately 40%. This claimed improvement is relative to dated side-scan sonar, which has extremely poor performance compared to more advanced technologies. We believe the unique combination of Kraken’s AquaPix® Synthetic Aperture Sonar and SeaVision® 3D underwater laser imaging system vastly outperform traditional sonar technologies, enabling ultra high definition imagery without compromising speed or coverage rates.”

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