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A confidence-based approach to enhancing underwater acoustic image formation

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2 Author(s)
Murino, V. ; Dipt. Sci. e Tecnologico, Verona Univ., Italy ; Trucco, A.

This paper describes a flexible technique to enhance the formation of short-range acoustic images so as to improve image quality and facilitate the tasks of subsequent postprocessing methods. The proposed methodology operates as an ideal interface between the signals formed by a focused beamforming technique (i.e., the beam signals) and the related image, whether a two-dimensional (2-D) or three-dimensional (3-D) one. To this end, a reliability measure has been introduced, called confidence, which allows one to perform a rapid examination of the beam signals and is aimed at accurately detecting echoes backscattered from a scene. The confidence-based approach exploits the physics of the process of image formation and generic a priori knowledge of a scene to synthesize model-based signals to be compared with actual backscattered echoes, giving, at the same time, a measure of the reliability of their similarity. The objectives that can be attained by this method can be summarized in a reduction in artifacts due to the lowering of the side-lobe level, a better lateral resolution, a greater accuracy in range determination, a direct estimation of the reliability of the information acquired, thus leading to a higher image quality and hence a better scene understanding. Tests on both simulated and actual data (concerning both 2-D and 3-D images) show the higher efficiency of the proposed confidence-based approach, as compared with more traditional techniques

Published in:

Image Processing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:8 ,  Issue: 2 )