Neural networks for improved target differentiation and localization with sonar
This study investigates the processing of sonar signals using neural networks for robust differentiation of commonly encountered features in indoor robot environments. Differentiation of such features is of interest for intelligent systems in a variety of applications. Different representations of amplitude and time-of-flight measurement patterns acquired from a real sonar system are processed. In most cases, best results are obtained with the low-frequency component of the discrete wavelet transform of these patterns. Modular and non-modular neural network structures trained with the back-propagation and generating-shrinking algorithms are used to incorporate learning in the identification of parameter relations for target primitives. Networks trained with the generating-shrinking algorithm demonstrate better generalization and interpolation capability and faster convergence rate. Neural networks can differentiate more targets employing only a single sensor node, with a higher correct differentiation percentage (99%) than achieved with previously reported methods (61-90%) employing multiple sensor nodes. A sensor node is a pair of transducers with fixed separation, that can rotate and scan the target to collect data. Had the number of sensing nodes been reduced in the other methods, their performance would have been even worse. The success of the neural network approach shows that the sonar signals do contain sufficient information to differentiate all target types, but the previously reported methods are unable to resolve this identifying information. This work can find application in areas where recognition of patterns hidden in sonar signals is required. Some examples are system control based on acoustic signal detection and identification, map building, navigation, obstacle avoidance, and target-tracking applications for mobile robots and other intelligent systems. Copyright © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.