Estimate the Unknown Environment with Biosonar Echoes-A Simulation Study

Muhammad Hassan Tanveer, Kennesaw State University
Antony Thomas, Department of Informatics, Bioengineering, Robotics, and Systems Engineering, University of Genoa, 16145 Genoa, Italy.
Waqar Ahmed, PAVIS, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, 16152 Genoa, Italy.
Hongxiao Zhu, Department of Statistics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.


Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have shown great potential in various applications such as surveillance, search and rescue. To perform safe and efficient navigation, it is vitally important for a UAV to evaluate the environment accurately and promptly. In this work, we present a simulation study for the estimation of foliage distribution as a UAV equipped with biosonar navigates through a forest. Based on a simulated forest environment, foliage echoes are generated by using a bat-inspired bisonar simulator. These biosonar echoes are then used to estimate the spatial distribution of both sparsely and densely distributed tree leaves. While a simple batch processing method is able to estimate sparsely distributed leaf locations well, a wavelet scattering technique coupled with a support vector machine (SVM) classifier is shown to be effective to estimate densely distributed leaves. Our approach is validated by using multiple setups of leaf distributions in the simulated forest environment. Ninety-seven percent accuracy is obtained while estimating thickly distributed foliage.