Can i use Ping sonar and install on ROV facing forward to look for structure in the front at seabed

I am using old version of BlueROV2 with heavy configuration and my mission is mostly finding structure at seabed at 80 meter water depth. It is very hard to find structure at seabed when visibility is zero.

My question is “can i use Ping sonar and install on ROV facing forward to look for structure in the front”. I noticed that the ping sonar instruction said to install the Ping sonar so that it is facing downward. If i install the Ping sonar facing front of ROV, will i see structure in front of me at 30 meters max?

Hi @noppita,

Yes, the ping sonar can be used as a general rangefinder/distance sensor, as long as the targets are sufficiently large / reflective of sonar. At the two extremes, approaching a flat wall at a perpendicular angle would have a strong reflection, while approaching a smooth flat wall from close to parallel would have very low reflection and likely wouldn’t be detected. Other shapes and sizes may vary in their sonar reflectiveness.

The instructions are for downward because the Ping Sonar is currently mostly used as an altimeter, and the software integration presents it as a downward facing. That said, if you’re just looking at the profiles and/or the Ping’s distance estimates then it should be fine if the software is saying it’s downward while it’s actually forward. It’s not used for obstacle avoidance at this stage, so shouldn’t have an impact on the operation of the vehicle.

Note that the Ping Sonar beamwidth is quite large, and the single direction of the beam can be limiting. An imaging sonar like the Ping360 is more expensive, but also much better suited to finding and identifying structure :slight_smile:

Thank you so much for your information. I usually use my ROV at seabed (80 meters depth) in the open sea and try to look for structure (4 meters tall metal structure) on seabed. The way i will do this by travelling my ROV directly to seabed and go forward to look for the structure on seabed. Therefore if i have ping sonar facing forward, it might be easy for me to locate the structure at 30 meters max away. I have the structure GPS coordination therefore i have some idea on where is the structure but it is very dark at 80 meters depth, so i am thinking that the ping sonar facing forward might help me. If the ping sonar can be used facing forward to search for large structure in front of the ROV, then i will order one for my ROV. If i follow the installation and setup instruction, i should be fine right? Is there a compatible issue with older bluerobotic ROV (heavy configuration) with this Ping sonar?

Hi Manop,

We actually made a 3D printed ‘Ping’ mount that interfaced with a GoPro style mounting base, so we could aim the Ping downward, or forward looking quite easily.

This should work, but because of the large beamwidth of the Ping Sonar it may be necessary to point slightly upwards to avoid false distance estimates caused by reflections from a rocky / plant covered sea floor, especially if you’re quite close to the bottom.

You’ll likely need to experiment to see what works best for your operating conditions, and will benefit from looking at the sonar profiles in Ping Viewer rather than just looking at the sonar’s distance estimates.

There shouldn’t be particular compatibility issues, but you may need to update your software.