Automated Acoustic Monitoring of Birdstrike Hazards

Period of Performance: 07/09/2002 - 07/09/2003


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Advanced Acoustic Concepts, Inc.
425 Oser Avenue
Hauppauge, NY 11788
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Cornell University
426 Phillips Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
Institution POC


Bird strikes and ingestion of birds into engines pose serious threats to aircraft during takeoff and landing operations at many air bases. AAC and Cornell propose to mitigate these threats by developing an acoustic bird monitoring system that provides both real-time snapshots and historical summaries of bird flight activity. This system would utilize a low cost, high gain array in association with acoustic Detection, Classification, and Localization (DCL) techniques designed to monitor bird vocalizations in potentially noisy environments. The distribution (map coordinates and altitude) and body masses of birds would be would be measured, and predictive models would be developed that relate these data to diurnal, seasonal, and meteorological factors. Alerts will be generated to help aircraft avoid problematic areas that are known or predicted to contain a critical mass of birds. This process will be achieved with a modest number of sensors and sensor sites, and must provide a high probability of detection while generating a very small number of false alarms. Acoustic DCL of birds at useful distances will be facilitated by the use of a multi-element Sparsely Populated Volumetric Array (SPVA). The SPVA uses interferometric processing to provide spatial gain, source localization, and cancellation of interfering sources. Underwater SPVA arrays are currently being deployed on Navy platforms for use in undersea warfare and marine mammal detection applications. Each SPVA system provides an accurate line of bearing. The intersection of lines of bearing from two or more SPVA systems can be used to map the bird's location in map coordinates and altitude. SPVA's can adaptively cancel high intensity noise sources, such as nearby aircraft or ground equipment, which might otherwise mask the bird signals of interest. Outputs of the SPVA will be fed to a two sets of detectors that will estimate signal parameters for several distinct classes of detected bird vocalizations and will identify manmade airport noises, including those from engines, spinning propellers and other air base noise sources. Outputs from both sets of detectors will feed a classifier which will make a determination as to whether a detected signal is a bird vocalization, and if so, estimate the location and identity of the bird. Alerts would be generated based on the aggregate distributions of bird biomass relative to runways and low altitude flight paths. This Automated Acoustic Monitoring of Birdstrike Hazard team will design and build a system to detect and localize bird activity to effectively mitigate harmful effects caused to military and commercial aircraft. The harmful effects to commercial aircraft have increased dramatically and will continue to increase as commercial air flights increase. It the intent of Advanced Acoustic Concept and Cornell to develop and commercially market an Automated Acoustic system which will be utilized within the airline industry safety program throughout the world.