An Inertial Measurement Unit comprises gyroscopes, magnetometers, and accelerometers, and they measure angles in the axis to obtain a roll or pitch. In addition, the navigation sensors can integrate an internal or external receiver for navigation data and velocity. Most of the inertial measurement units are based on a technology that combines high performance and low power on a small size.
Gyroscope: Refers to a physical sensor that measures and detects the angular movement of objects relative to the inertial reference frame. It measures the motion without the help of a reference signal.
Accelerometer: It is the instrument that measures the proper acceleration related to a free fall that people and objects feel. The accelerations are measured by gravitational force and can detect temperature, velocity, altitude, position, and magnetic fields.
Magnetometer: It is a sensor used in the measurement of the direction and strength of magnetic fields. The measurements help to provide the correct bearing of the Inertial Navigation Systems.
Advantages of Inertial Navigation Systems
The systems are autonomous and do not depend on the surrounding environment and external aids. It is for this reason that they can operate underwater and in tunnels. Inertial Navigation Systems are well suited for integrated guidance, navigation, and control of the host vehicle. The system’s measurement unit can measure variables such as net acceleration to estimate the speed of a host vehicle.
The inertial system is used in surveying to collect data that is important for decision making. For example, inertial sensors can be integrated into indoor and mobile mapping surveys. It is also used for applications that need high accuracy and machine language, such as operating driverless cars.
The systems are used in the defense department for antenna pointing. They can also be used in marine applications that include hydrography and submarines. Navigation systems are, however, costly. In addition, it is expensive to acquire, operate and manage inertial navigation systems.