Interesting Facts About Inertial Navigation Systems

Inertial navigation systems are self-contained devices consisting of a computational unit and an inertial measurement unit. The latter is usually made up of an accelerometer, a gyroscope, and sometimes a magnetometer. But how does this system work? Here are some interesting facts you might want to know about inertial navigation systems

How They Function

An inertial navigation system is used to calculate the orientation, location, and speed of a moving object. These units typically make use of accelerometers and gyroscopes. These motion and rotating sensors then communicate with a computer unit which translates the data into controls. While some of these systems come with other features, these are their basic components. For instance, apart from the accelerometer and gyroscope, inertial navigation systems can be upgraded with magnetic sensors and barometric altimeters.

Dead Rocking System

When using an inertial navigation system, the initial position, speed, and orientation of a moving vehicle are provided by an external source. This can either be a GPS satellite receiver or an operator. Using the data provided by these external sources, the INS can then start to calculate velocity and position. As the vehicle keeps moving, the system will keep receiving data that it uses to make calculations and updates. 

Components of Inertial Navigation Systems

Inertial navigation systems are primarily comprised of accelerometers and gyroscopes. They also feature a computer that processes the information received by sensors. The gyroscope is used to measure the sensor frame’s angular velocity in relation to the inertial reference frame. The original orientation of the system is provided by the inertial reference frame, and this data is then combined with angular velocity to calculate the vehicle’s direction. 

Inertial navigation systems are the ideal solutions when dealing with complex operations on land, sea, and air. They can also be used in space. Some manufacturers even use them for smartphone tracking. With the advancements in modern technology, it’s now possible to develop smaller INS that can be used in a variety of applications. 

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