Underwater Tracking System for Accurate Horizontal Directional Drilling

Period of Performance: 05/28/2013 - 11/30/2013


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Physical Optics Corp.
1845 West 205th Street Array
Torrance, CA 90501
Principal Investigator


Addressing the Navy s need to develop an accurate underwater tracking tool for Horizontal Directional Drilling systems, Physical Optics Corporation (POC) proposes to develop a new Underwater Tracking System (UNTRAS), based on implementation of tunable ELF transmitters. The system comprises two battery-operated units: diver operated handheld detector (HHD) and beacon ELF transceiver (BETR) that is placed inside the drill head (into the standard beacon housing). BETR s receiver remotely receives command signals from the HHD in order to emit different ELFs/ELFs combinations for drill head tracking. BETR s transmitter serves to emit optimal ELFs/ELFs combinations to track a drill head. The HHD incorporates low SWaP ELF receiver based on POC s magnetic field processing modules and ELF command transmitter to remotely control the BETR to generate frequencies required for tracking. In Phase I, POC will develop UNTRAS design concept, perform detailed frequency domain analysis and modeling to identify optimal frequency/set of frequencies for accurate underwater drill-head tracking. Based on the design concept developed, POC will assemble a scaled-down UNTRAS laboratory prototype for testing. In Phase II, the UNTRAS design will be further refined and optimized, and POC will build a full-scale system prototype and create its test plan in a near relevant environment.