; Department of Milieu, technologie en technologiemanagement, Faculty of Toegepaste Economische Wetenschappen, Universiteit Antwerpen , 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
Array beamforming techniques allow for the generation of 3-D spatial filters which can be used to localize objects in a large field of view (FOV) without the need for mechanical scanning. By combining broadband beamforming with a sparse, random array of receivers, we have constructed a low-cost, yet powerful, in-air sonar system, which is suited for a wide range of robotic applications. Experimental results in unmodified office environments show the performance of the sonar sensor. In particular, we document the sensor's capacity to produce 3-D location measurements in the presence of multiple highly overlapping echoes. We show how this capability makes possible the combination of a wide FOV with accurate 3-D localization, allowing the sensor to operate under real-time constraints in realistic environments. To demonstrate the use of this sensor, we describe an odometry application that estimates egomotion of a mobile robot using acoustic flow.