Seabed classification from merchant ship-radiated noise using a physics-based ensemble of deep learning algorithms

Merchant ship-radiated noise, recorded on a single receiver in the 360–1100 Hz frequency band over 20 min, is employed for seabed classification using an ensemble of deep learning (DL) algorithms. Five different convolutional neural network architectures and one residual neural network are trained on synthetic data generated using 34 seabed types, which span from soft-muddy to hard-sandy environments. The accuracy of all of the networks using fivefold cross-validation was above 97%. Furthermore, the impact of the sound speed and water depth mismatch on the predictions is evaluated using five simulated test cases, where the deeper and more complex architectures proved to be more robust against this variability. In addition, to assess the generalizability performance of the ensemble DL, the networks were tested on data measured on three vertical line arrays in the Seabed Characterization Experiment in 2017, where 94% of the predictions indicated that mud over sand environments inferred in previous geoacoustic inversions for the same area were the most likely sediments. This work presents evidence that the ensemble of DL algorithms has learned how the signature of the sediments is encoded in the ship-radiated noise, providing a unified classification result when tested on data collected at-sea.
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