In 1995, our first fully digital, self-contained sonar units were introduced. Taking advantage of the advances in PC capabilities (Intel PentiumTM, Microsoft WindowsTM), we were able to eliminate the need for a dedicated surface processor, making the sonar system more adaptable and affordable. The Model 881 was the first sonar in the industry with full digital serial communication specifications available to the end user for ease of system integration. These new features were made possible by integrating the powerful Texas Instruments TMS320 Digital Signal ProcessorTM technology into the units.
The 881 family of sonar systems now includes an imaging unit, a profiling unit, a fan/cone unit (switchable between imaging and profiling), a tilt adjust imaging unit, and an echo sounder unit. Today the 881 family is available in a range of custom acoustic frequencies from 330 kHz to 5 MHz, with depth ratings from 1000 meters to 6000 meters. Other features include standard (ten millimeter) range resolution or optional high resolution (with three millimeter range bins!). Maximum ranges are dependent on the acoustic frequency chosen, and can be up to 200 meters for 330 kHz units.
The Model 881 is an extremely versatile unit and has found use in many underwater imaging applications. They are effective tools in identification and recovery of sunken logs, and for the examination of underwater structures such as bridge and dam foundations. Profiling versions are used to monitor trenching and dredging operations by ROVs. Geologists and oceanographers have used Model 881s to detect and measure ice scours, sand waves, and even sand ripples during storms in high resolution stationary applications.