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DARPA, Three Research Teams Move Into Phase 2 of Biological Underwater Sensing Project

Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors
Persistent Aquatic, Living Sensors

Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Technologies and Florida Atlantic University have received contracts to undertake the second phase of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program designed to advance biological sensing concept for underwater vehicle detection and monitoring purposes.

All three awardees are tasked with developing systems to observe, record and translate underwater organisms’ responses and send the data to remote end-users as part of the Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors project, DARPA said Monday.

Northrop is examining the responses of a snapping shrimp as input pulses for a 3D acoustic imaging technology while Raytheon Technologies is working on a passive bi-static sonar platform with the shrimp.

Florida Atlantic University is studying the potential of a goliath grouper as a biological sensor, according to DARPA.

“Because marine organisms are ubiquitous in their environments, self-replicating, and largely self-sustaining, sensing systems that use marine organisms as their foundation would be discreet, cost-effective, and provide persistent undersea surveillance with a minimal logistical footprint,” said Lori Adornato, PALS program manager at DARPA.

The agency selected five research teams in February 2019 to participate in the PALS program’s first phase.

Phase 1 participants studied the abilities of marine organisms to sense the presence of underwater vehicles and identified organisms with unique and measurable signals.

DARPA noted that the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Newport Division, serves as the agency’s PALS government partner.

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