In this article the development of a newly designed Time-of-Flight (ToF) image sensor for underwater applications is described. The sensor is developed as part of the project UTOFIA (underwater time-of-flight image acquisition) funded by the EU within the Horizon 2020 framework. This project aims to develop a camera based on range gating that extends the visible range compared to conventional cameras by a factor of 2 to 3 and delivers real-time range information by means of a 3D video stream.
The principle of underwater range gating as well as the concept of the image sensor are presented. Based on measurements on a test image sensor a pixel structure that suits best to the requirements has been selected. Within an extensive characterization underwater the capability of distance measurements in turbid environments is demonstrated.