Low Cost, Low Drift, High Accuracy, Miniature Inertial Navigation System (INS)
Navy SBIR 2011.1 - Topic N111-007
NAVAIR - Mrs. Janet McGovern - email@example.com
Opens: December 13, 2010 - Closes: January 12, 2011
N111-007 TITLE: Low Cost, Low Drift, High Accuracy, Miniature Inertial Navigation System (INS)
TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Air Platform, Ground/Sea Vehicles, Sensors
ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMA-264, Air Anti-Submarine Warfare Systems; ACAT IV
RESTRICTION ON PERFORMANCE BY FOREIGN CITIZENS (i.e., those holding non-U.S. Passports): This topic is "ITAR Restricted." The information and materials provided pursuant to or resulting from this topic are restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120 - 130, which control the export of defense-related material and services, including the export of sensitive technical data. Foreign Citizens may perform work under an award resulting from this topic only if they hold the "Permanent Resident Card", or are designated as "Protected Individuals" as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). If a proposal for this topic contains participation by a foreign citizen who is not in one of the above two categories, the proposal will be rejected.
OBJECTIVE: Develop new innovative devices and methods to create a miniature, low cost, low drift, high accuracy inertial navigation system (INS).
DESCRIPTION: Currently available, high grade, high performance INS are costly, upwards of $200k per unit, bulky, 5 to 10 pounds, power hungry at 20 to 50 watts and have unaided drift rates of miles per hour. The high altitude antisubmarine warfare (ASW) mission has imposed the requirement for buoy systems to report their own location over the course of many hours in global positioning system (GPS) denied areas and therefore require INS. The increasing number of UAVs and pod or turret mounted sensors also requires very compact, low power INS attitude and position data without sacrificing accuracy to achieve their peak performance. These sensor systems may be required to operate in GPS denied environments and therefore require VERY low drift inertial systems to maintain position and attitude awareness. The proliferation of these sensor systems also requires that the INS unit cost be drastically reduced while maintaining performance to achieve reductions in overall program costs.
The best INS systems in use today couple high grade GPS receivers with large and expensive laser ring gyro or fiber optic gyro-based inertial measurement units. The real-time processed and filtered data products from these INS achieve 0.01 degree attitude errors (one sigma) and approximately one (1) meter position errors (one sigma) in standalone mode (no differential GPS aiding) at high update rates. The lower cost and much smaller approaches available commercially do not meet the performance needs for Navy systems. Also, in a GPS denied environment, both high grade and low grade INS lose their precise position and attitude accuracy within minutes and are completely lost within hours. Today’s sensor systems require position accuracies on the order of tens of meters in GPS denied environments over the course of many hours.
The availability of new micro electromechanical systems (MEMS), fiber optics, nano materials and embedded processors has the potential to improve the current performance to the point where small low cost approaches are viable. For example, one component of the INS is a 3-axis accelerometer. With MEMS technology, an enormous number of accelerometer triads could be made in a very small space with opposing temperature and noise sensitivities to self-compensate. The over-redundant accelerometer system could be filtered and averaged to drastically reduce drift rates. Current MEMS accelerometer triads use a single device per axis and suffer high drift rates.
PHASE I: Demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed approach. Perform preliminary bench-top testing to verify the performance of the components or algorithms.
PHASE II: Develop and demonstrate a working bench-top design. Sufficiently harden bench-top design for testing and demonstration in a dynamic environment. Design and develop a prototype based on the results of the bench-top device.
PHASE III: Complete prototype development and document the design. Transition the units to a Navy system.
PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Private sector commercial applications for low cost, miniature INS include small aircraft such as Cessna’s and turret mounted imaging systems, such as video cameras. Also long-life scientific sea buoys and underwater autonomous vehicles would greatly benefit from low drift, low power INS. Only the largest commercial aircraft currently have the ability for autonomous landing. The successful result of this SBIR could bring autonomous landing to a smaller class of aircraft.
2. Mostafa, M.M.R. & Hutton, J. (2001). Airborne Kinematic Positioning and Attitude Determination Without Base Stations. Proceedings, International Symposium On Kinematic Systems in Geodesy, Geomatics, and Navigation. Banff, Alberta, Canada, available at www.applanix.com
KEYWORDS: Inertial; Inertial Navigating System (INS); Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU); Global Positioning System (GPS); Attitude; Micro Electromechanical Systems (MEMS)