Research & Innovation

Hady Salloum Receives $3.3M Award to Develop Underwater Acoustic Sensor System

The award will allow Salloum and his team to continue the development of systems that can detect and monitor intruders on public waterways.

Hady Salloum

Hady Salloum, director of the Maritime Security Center and the Sensor Technology and Applied Research (STAR) Center at Stevens Institute of Technology, was recently awarded a contract for $3.3 million from iModal Ground, LLC, to develop an underwater acoustic security system that will protect ports, waterways and waterfront properties from surface and underwater intruders. The work, which will build off of Stevens’ existing patented technology, has the potential to open up a wide range of uses, from keeping passengers in cruise ships safe, protecting ports and cargo ships and keeping the supply chain running smoothly.

In his project, entitled “Research for the Commercialization of the Passive Acoustic Underwater Intruder Detection System,” Salloum and his STAR team will develop a new robust, environmentally hardened, manufacturable, underwaterunderwater acoustic sensor system prototype that includes the development of an acoustic sensor system that can detect, monitor, and classify possible intruders on public waterways—such as ocean, rivers, and lakes. This sensor system meets the needs of the private sector and can be used across all industries including manufacturing, tourism, transportation and logistics. 

The system will be based on the Stevens Passive Acoustic Detection System (SPADES), a patented technology previously created at Stevens which works by placing hydrophones underwater, then acquiring and rapidly analyzing sounds to detect human divers, as well as the distinctive sounds of small boats. SPADES' software filters out ambient noise and can spot a diver breathing from a distance of hundreds of yards.

The technology has previously been tested by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, but Salloum will adapt the technology for commercial use. The new system will be able to detect, monitor, and classify possible underwater intruders in ocean, rivers and lakes. The data collected by the sensors will be processed using acoustic classification algorithms that integrate into field communications equipment and databases to facilitate real-time alerting capabilities, providing a unique solution for dealing with underwater and surface threats.

“This underwater acoustic sensor system prototype will meet the needs of the private sector and be used across all industries including tourism, transportation and logistics,” said Salloum. “I am excited to work with iModal Ground to advance this technology and create a new, widely-available underwater security solution.”

“We look forward to partnering with Hady and his team of researchers at Stevens to develop this new option for maritime security,” said iModal Ground President MJ Johnson. “In our increasingly global world, this system will benefit countless people through safer and more efficient travel, shipping and logistics.” 

iModal Ground is a subsidiary of Inter-Modal Holding, which is an Ohio-based asset holding company. iModal Ground provides communications and technology systems for the logistics market especially low-cost sensors that incorporate multiple technologies.