10 July 2000 Robotic vehicle uses acoustic sensors for voice detection and diagnostics
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An acoustic sensor array that cues an imaging system on a small tele- operated robotic vehicle was used to detect human voice and activity inside a building. The advantage of acoustic sensors is that it is a non-line of sight (NLOS) sensing technology that can augment traditional LOS sensors such as visible and IR cameras. Acoustic energy emitted from a target, such as from a person, weapon, or radio, will travel through walls and smoke, around corners, and down corridors, whereas these obstructions would cripple an imaging detection system. The hardware developed and tested used an array of eight microphones to detect the loudest direction and automatically setter a camera's pan/tilt toward the noise centroid. This type of system has applicability for counter sniper applications, building clearing, and search/rescue. Data presented will be time-frequency representations showing voice detected within rooms and down hallways at various ranges. Another benefit of acoustics is that it provides the tele-operator some situational awareness clues via low-bandwidth transmission of raw audio data for the operator to interpret with either headphones or through time-frequency analysis. This data can be useful to recognize familiar sounds that might indicate the presence of personnel, such as talking, equipment, movement noise, etc. The same array also detects the sounds of the robot it is mounted on, and can be useful for engine diagnostics and trouble shooting, or for self-noise emanations for stealthy travel. Data presented will characterize vehicle self noise over various surfaces such as tiles, carpets, pavement, sidewalk, and grass. Vehicle diagnostic sounds will indicate a slipping clutch and repeated unexpected application of emergency braking mechanism.
© (2000) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Stuart H. Young, Stuart H. Young, Michael V. Scanlon, Michael V. Scanlon, "Robotic vehicle uses acoustic sensors for voice detection and diagnostics", Proc. SPIE 4024, Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technology II, (10 July 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.391617; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.391617

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