A beam based method for target localization: inspiration from bats' directivity and binaural reception for ultrasonic sonar

Francesco Guarato, James Windmill, Anthony Gachagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The process of echolocation is accomplished by bats partly using the beam profiles associated with their ear shapes that allow for discrimination between different echo directions. Indeed, knowledge of the emitted signal characteristic and measurement of the echo travel time from a target make it possible to compensate for attenuation due to distance, and to focus on filtering through the receivers' beam profiles by comparing received echoes to the original signal at all frequencies in the spectrum of interest. From this basis, a beam profile method to localize a target in three-dimensional space for an ultrasonic sensor system equipped with an emitter and two receivers is presented. Simulations were conducted with different noise levels, and only the contribution of the receivers' beam profiles was considered to estimate the orientation of the target with respect to the receivers. The beam pattern of the Phyllostomus discolor's ear was adopted as that of a receiver. Analyses of beam resolution and frequency ranges were conducted to enhance the accuracy of orientation estimates. The choice of appropriate resolution and frequency ranges guarantee that error mean values for most of the orientations are within [0.5°, 1.5°], even in noisy situations: Signal-to-noise ratio values considered in this work are 35 and 50 dB.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4077-4086
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • acoustic signal processing
  • array signal processing
  • direction-of-arrival estimation
  • echo
  • filtering theory
  • target tracking
  • ultrasonic absorption
  • underwater sound

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