Group for Research in Decision Analysis

Underwater sensor & actuator networks - recent results & challenges

Stéphane Blouin Defence Scientist, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), Canada

Water covers most of the Earth’s surface and it is economically critical for conveying transcontinental phone calls and transactions through undersea cables and merchandise via container ships. Yet, to this day, the water medium remains a challenging environment for humans to communicate. This talk covers the broad topic of underwater sensor and actuator networks equipped with an acoustic communication capability. As no prior knowledge of underwater acoustics is assumed, an overview of underwater acoustic communication and sensing is first provided. A review of the main modeling approaches and key environmental characteristics is incorporated. Part of this topic will also highlight a brief description of Canada’s on-going R&D activities in the Arctic region and its unique challenges. Subsequently, the speaker will provide an in-depth discussion about recent research results on refracted communications. In particular, this research topic ties together underwater acoustic communications, environmental features, network design criteria, and acoustic transducer specifications. Future research topics and on-going international collaborations are discussed before summarizing the talk and providing a list of future challenges.


Dr. Stephane Blouin is a Defence Scientist at the Defence R&D Canada – Atlantic Research Centre and an adjunct professor at Dalhousie University (NS), Carleton University (ON), and Concordia University (QC). He holds degrees in mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering. In the last 25 years, he held various R&D positions in industry in Canada, France and USA related to technology development and commercialization for automated processes, assembly lines, robotic systems, and process controllers. Dr.Blouin has authored more than 65 scientific documents, holds 8 inventions and patents, and is the Canadian technical lead on many international projects. His current research interests cover real-time monitoring, control, and optimization of sensor networks.