Deliver Your News to the World

TI DSCs Bring Performance and Integration For Real-time Acoustic Triangulation In Team SONIAís Autonomous Underwater Vehicle


AUV Technology Designed for Applications Too Dangerous or Too Costly for Human Divers or Manned Submersible Craft

HOUSTON - Developing higher performance autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) that are smaller and less complex, Team SONIA, comprised of students from the Ecole de technologie superieure (ETS) in Quebec, Canada, have integrated Texas Instruments Incorporatedís (TI) (NYSE: TXN) TMS320F28x digital signal controller (DSC) technology into their new vehicle, which will compete in the 10th International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition in San Diego, July 12-15, 2007. The SONIA autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) will compete in complex tests designed to advance subsurface navigation technology for use in dangerous, difficult and expensive real-world underwater applications.

ďWe began development using traditional microcontrollers (MCU), but quickly switched to TIís F28x controllers when we realized we needed a combination of performance, peripherals and integration to create a smaller, more compact AUV that could still pack a punch in terms of performance,Ē said Felix Pageau, team leader of SONIA AUV project. ďThanks to these benefits, plus the flexibility inherent in the controllerís programmable digital technology, our overall development was simplified and we were able to vastly reduce the size and complexity of the vehiclesí electronics system,Ē said Francis Lauzon-Duranceau, passive SONAR project leader.

The SONIA submersible craft combines a battery, thrusters, on-board computer and other electronics in a compact hull that can be carried by a single person. The AUV is equipped with a robotic camera and vision recognition software to detect shapes and colors, active SONAR that uses low-frequency pings to detect depth and objects, and passive SONAR with hydrophones that detect mid-frequency sounds emitted by other objects. Received sounds are converted to digital acoustic data, which is then triangulated by the 32-bit TMS320F2812 controller and used in combination with an internal compass and gyroscope to orient the craft. 150 MIPS of DSP-based computational performance allows the F2812 controller to manage all real-time acoustic triangulation, freeing processing headroom in the main computer for visual recognition.

Extending Unmanned Vehicles to New Underwater Environments

The International AUV Competition is sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR), and was developed to promote the development of systems that use artificial intelligence to perform complex or dangerous underwater tasks with no human intervention or communication such as detecting and disarming underwater mines, performing security and contraband searches in harbors and laying optical fiber on sea beds. Competition tasks include: locating a docking station in murky water via flashing lights, following pipelines, dropping markers in bins representing pipeline breaks and surfacing over an acoustic beacon.

During the 9th Annual AUV Competition in 2006, SONIAís guidance capabilities and artificial intelligence software enabled the teamís craft to complete all tasks within the allowed 15 minutes, securing a finish among the top three contestants. For the 2007 competition, however, the SONIA team has redesigned their vehicle to feature additional navigation sensors, be more lightweight, more aware of its environment and easier to maintain than previous AUVs. For more information on the SONIA AUV project, please see

DSP Technology Enables Innovative Control Solutions

TIís 32-bit TMS320C28xTMcontroller platform features up to 150 MIPS of performance and an integrated, control-optimized peripheral mix that includes TIís patent pending high-resolution pulse width modulation (HRPWM) technology, with 150 pico-second (ps) resolution.

This enhanced resolution allows faster control loops and quicker system response as well as more accurate control systems such as those found in the SONIA AUV. Among the F2812 deviceís integrated peripherals are a fast, 12.5 MSPS, 12-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC), timers, data and external memory interfaces, pulse-width modulation (PWM) and a CAN control bus interface. In addition, the devicesí on-chip memory is available for program and data storage while the controllerís industrial characterization assures reliable operation over the wide temperature ranges that can be found in different underwater environments.

Additionally, the F2812 controllerís programmability helped shift the development emphasis from hardware to software - playing to the strength of the team in programming. The controllerís extensive support library and the Code Composer StudioTM¬ integrated development environment (IDE) simplified writing code and helped save an estimated 50 percent of program development time. As the SONIA team continues to improve their AUVís overall design for future contests, they can easily modify the DSP algorithms as needed. For more information on the full line of TMS320C2000TM digital signal controllers, see The SONIA AUV also includes TI op amps and voltage regulators. For more information on TI Analog products, please see

TI Enables Innovation with Broad Range of Controllers

From ultra-low-power MSP430 and 32-bit general purpose TMS470 ARM7¬ģ family-based MCUs to high performance TMS320C2000 digital signal controllers, TI offers designers the broadest range of embedded control solutions. Designers can also accelerate their design to market by tapping into TIís complete software and hardware tools, extensive third party offerings and technical support. For more information on the broad range of TIís controllers, see


This news content was configured by WebWire editorial staff. Linking is permitted.

News Release Distribution and Press Release Distribution Services Provided by WebWire.