Furuno FLS, the hope lives on
One enterprising, if anonymous, Panbot has apparently been searching out filings at the U.S. Patent Office, and discovered some interesting recent activity regarding Furuno Electric Co. and Forward Looking Sonar (FLS). You may recall that Furuno previewed the “FL-7000” at the NMEA Conference in 2005, but then scrapped the product, purportedly due to inconsistent performance. That entry and its comments demonstrate well my personal enthusiasm for improved FLS and the current state of the technology (valuable but limited, with ongoing incremental improvements). Well, patents are hard to read, and don’t necessarily mean much, but…
Maybe some of you engineer types out there are willing to look over U.S. Patent 7369459, awarded in May, and explain to the rest of us what dual beam advances are being claimed here. While anyone may notice that this patent was filed in 2005 and conclude that it’s meaningless, also check out Patent 7463553, another Furuno FLS-related claim (on distinguishing bubbles?) which was filed last March and awarded last month. If nothing else, I’ve learned about two patent search engines—Google’s beta and PatentGenius—and spent some time poking about. Darned if I didn’t come across an AIS-listening satellite development related to the discussion earlier this week.
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