A series of underwater acoustic localization experiments were conducted in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to test the performance of a Bayesian method for localization of pulsed acoustic sources exploiting time differences between direct and surface-reflected arrivals at two hydrophones of known depth. The experiments involved a controlled source (pinger) at various depths/ranges as well as vocalizing sperm whales encountered off southern Crete. The localization method provides primarily range and depth information. In addition, if the location of the hydrophones in the horizontal is known, horizontal localization can be performed as well, subject to left–right ambiguity; this was applied for whale localization. The localization results confirmed the anticipated behavior of range, depth, and bearing estimation errors, which, according to theory, depend mainly on the source azimuth. In particular, range and depth estimation errors are larger for source locations close to broadside to the array and smaller towards endfire, and they increase with range. Conversely, bearing estimation errors are larger close to endfire and smaller towards broadside. Localizations in this paper were performed to ranges of about 3.5 km. The limiting factors for localization to longer ranges were the loss of ability to resolve direct and surface-reflected arrivals as well as the self-noise of the hydrophones.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited