Real-time Compression for Acoustic Array Time-Domain Data -- 18-007
Navy SBIR FY2018.1

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2018.1
Topic No.: N181-067
Topic Title: Real-time Compression for Acoustic Array Time-Domain Data -- 18-007
Proposal No.: N181-067-0298
Firm: Metron, Inc.
1818 Library Street
Suite 600
Reston, Virginia 20190
Contact: John Gebbie
Phone: (703) 467-5631
Web Site:
Abstract: Present-day Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System (SURTASS) ships perform detection and classification operations, including the computationally expensive task of processing collected data. Since greater computing is available at on-shore processing stations, improved target detection and localization are possible if the terrestrial stations perform the processing. However, the large volume of data requires large communications bandwidth between the ship and shore. If this data volume can be reduced, then the shore facilities can take on increased processing, reducing the need for costly custom hardware on the ship. Metron proposes an innovative, physics-based data compression approach that transforms hydrophone data into a related mathematical matrix space that possesses structure related to ambient noise and any acoustic sources, allowing improved communications. The approach allocates bits to represent the transformed signals more efficiently than traditional linear methods and preserves nearly full-fidelity data representation with fewer bits. By reducing the number of bits needed to represent the data, the proposed bit-allocation approach will in turn reduce the number of bits needed to transmit the signals from SURTASS vessels to shore for processing and analysis. Preliminary testing on real, unclassified data already achieves significant compression, and thus provides a promising foundation for continued research.
Benefits: This SBIR directly addresses several key challenges associated with compressing SURTASS sensor data for ship-to-shore communications. The most urgent need is to develop a compression scheme exhibiting no losses above the least-significant-bit (LSB), so the decompression step will be in effect lossless. The contractor has developed an innovative compression algorithm that is applicable to towed array data streams and also for other similar sensors. Initial testing with unclassified and classified data is promising, so we anticipate the Phase I effort will produce practical data compression with real system data. The initial market for our proposed technology is the US Navyƒ?Ts SURTASS system. The Navy will benefit from this technology through reduced hardware cost, and improved target detection, tracking and classification via the increased computing available on shore. The proposed technology can also be applied to a variety of active-SONAR systems including SURTASS and those on other surface ships. Rapid transition to the fleet is very likely, due to the nature of the SURTASS platformƒ?Ts ARCI spiral development cycle. The contractor already has a proven track record transitioning innovative technologies (including SBIR) to the program via the Navyƒ?Ts Step Evaluation process for new technologies. In addition, the cyclical nature of this ARCI process provides multiple opportunities for technology insertion into the existing system. Systems in other parts of the Government are also promising transition targets. For example, NGA collects huge amounts of data and an innovative compression scheme like the one proposed here could increase their recording capacity. Any other DoD or IC agency with similar data collection needs could benefit from the proposed technology. Finally, many commercial entities could also profit from a new compression approach. The method particularly suits the music industry because they employ microphones in configurations that are similar to the Navy system considered here. New video recording practices could also benefit from this technology for the same reason.