Advanced Navigation is a leading manufacturer of Inertial Navigation Systems (INS). Our range of Inertial Navigation Systems is designed to perform under the most demanding conditions using Advanced Navigation’s AI-based fusion algorithm.
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An Inertial Navigation System, also known as an INS, is a navigation solution that measures changes in motion through inertial sensors in order to determine the velocity, orientation, and position of an object. An INS consists of an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and a computational unit. By using a known starting position and known orientation (referred to as an inertial frame of reference) the IMU will track changes in velocity and rotation applied to an object and feed that raw data to the computational unit in the INS so it can establish the new position and orientation accurately.
Inertial navigation systems are proven solutions that provide position data. There are different types of inertial navigation systems, ranging from lightweight MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems) to more dynamic fiber optic gyroscopes (FOG), and more advanced digital fiber optic gyroscopes (DFOG).
An inertial navigation system is particularly beneficial in a GNSS-denied (global navigation satellite system) environment. GNSS can be interfered with in underground environments like tunnels or underwater environments. GNSS signals can also be interfered with by way of multi-pathing or atmospheric interference. While this may be an inconvenience for navigation on a phone, for the likes of aerial surveying or defence applications, positioning requires no room for error.
This is why an inertial navigation system that integrates a GNSS is far more reliable, as an INS by nature mitigates the room for error a GNSS would experience alone. An inertial navigation system can operate effectively and accurately without communicating to a base station, making it well suited where GNSS is either susceptible to inaccuracies or isn’t available at all.
The IMU within the inertial navigation system is composed of sensors including accelerometers, gyroscopes, and often, magnetometers.
Accelerometers are sensors that measure the acceleration of an object, tracking the changing velocity.
Gyroscopes are rotation sensors that measure the changes in the angular velocity of an object.
Magnetometers measure the strength and direction of the Earth’s magnetic field to determine the orientation with respect to the magnetic North Pole. The inertial navigation system will correct for the difference between the true north and the magnetic north. However, in most vehicles, the accuracy of a magnetometer is affected by magnetic interference sources.
Each of these sensors has its own limitations, which is why they work better when they are combined. By measuring these three sensors, the inertial navigation system is able to calculate any distance traveled and the heading.
By doing so, an inertial navigation system is capable of measuring:
An INS also incorporates a GNSS receiver which is used as an additional sensor. By doing so, It gives an absolute position rather than a relative position. An INS alone can determine a position relative to the inertial frame of reference, but combined with GNSS it can provide absolute position by accurately providing the global position.
There are many kinds of inertial navigation systems, all of which have varying degrees of accuracy. High-end INS that utilise fiber optic gyroscope (FOG) are accurate within centimeters and would be used for aerospace exploration, AUVs, and defence applications. Unlike GNSS, inertial navigation systems are immune to jamming or spoofing as they don’t require references from external sources like satellites or base stations.
An inertial navigation system is a self-contained system that doesn’t rely on satellite signals or base stations to calculate position.
A GNSS requires information from satellites to determine positioning. The use of GNSS is quite common in civilian, commercial, and defence applications with varying degrees of navigational accuracy. However, GNSS is subject to several modes of interference, including atmospheric disruption and multipathing. GNSS signals can also be lost due to obstructions like tunnels or intentional interference such as jamming and spoofing which is possible in military applications.
Working in tandem, the two navigation systems can be used to provide highly accurate positions, with an inertial navigation system able to calculate position should the vehicle enter a GNSS-denied environment, effectively improving GNSS navigation information.
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