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Published by: janderson13 on May 28, 2014
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17.1 Principles of Inertial Navigation
e original meaning of the word
 is ship driving.In ancient times when sailing boats were used, navigation was a process of steering the ship in accordance with some means of directional infor-mation, and adjusting the sails to control the speed of the boat. e objective was to bring the vessel from location A to location B safely. At present, navigation is a combination of science and technology. No longer is the term limited to the control of a ship on the sea surface; it is applied to land, air, sea surface, underwater, and space.e concept of inertial-navigator mechanization was rst suggested by Schuler in Germany in 1923. His suggested navigation system was based on an Earth-radius pendulum. However, the first inertial guidance system based on acceleration was suggested by Boykow in 1938. e German A-4 rocket, toward the end of World War II, used an inertial guidance system based on flight instrument type gyro-scopes for attitude control and stabilization. In this system, body-mounted gyro-pendulum-integrating accelerometers were used to determine the velocity along the trajectory. e rst fully operational iner-tial autonavigator system in the United States was the XN-1 developed in 1950 to guide C-47 rocket. Presently, inertial navigation systems (INSs) are well developed theoretically and technologically. ey find diverse applications, allowing the choice of appropriate navigation devices, depending on cost, accuracy, human interface, global coverage, time delay, and autonomy.
Inertial navigation
 is a technique using a self-contained system to measure a vehicle’s movement and determine how far it has moved from its starting point. Acceleration is a vector quantity involving magnitude and direction. A single accelerometer measures magnitude but not direction. Typically, it measures the component of acceleration along a predetermined line or direction. e direction infor-mation is usually supplied by gyroscopes that provide a reference frame for the accelerometers. Unlike other positional methods that rely on external references, an INS is compact and self-contained, as it is not required to communicate to any other stations or other references. is property enables the cra to navigate in an unknown territory.
Inertial Navigation
Halit Eren
Curtin University 
© 2014 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
Spatial Variables
Inertial navigation can also be described as a process of directing the movement of a vehicle, rocket, ship, aircra, robot, and so on, from one point to another with respect to a reference axis. e vehicle’s current position can be determined from “dead reckoning” with respect to a known initial starting ref-erence position. On the Earth’s surface, the conventional reference will be north, east, and down. is is referred to as the
Earth’s fixed axes
. A vehicle such as an aircra or a marine vessel will have its own
local axes:
 roll, pitch, and yaw, as shown in Figure 17.1.e inertial sensors of the INS can be mounted in such a way that they stay leveled and pointing in a fixed direction. is system relies on a set of gimbals and sensors attached on three axes to monitor the angles at all times. is type of INS is based on a
navigational platform
. A sketch of a three-axis platform is shown in Figure 17.2. Another type of INS is the
strapdown system
 that eliminates the use of gimbals. In this case, the gyros and accelerometers are mounted to the structure of the vehicle. e measurements received are made in reference to the local axes of roll, pitch, and yaw. e gyros measure the movement of angles in the three axes in a short time interval of few milliseconds. e computer then uses this information to resolve the accelerometer outputs into the navigation axes. A schematic block diagram of the strapdown system is shown in Figure 17.3. e controlling action is based on the sensing components of acceleration of the vehicle in known spatial directions, by instruments that mechanize Newtonian laws of motion. e rst and second integrations of the sensed acceleration determine velocity and position, respectively. A typical INS includes a set of gyros, a set of accelerometers, and appropriate signal processing units. Although the principle of the systems may be simple, the fabrication of a practical system demands a sophisticated technological base. e system accuracy is independent of altitude, terrain, and other physical variables but is limited almost purely by the accuracy of its own components. Traditional INSs mainly rely on mechanical gyros and accelerometers, but today there are many dierent types available, such as opti-cal gyroscopes, piezoelectric vibrating gyroscopes, and active and passive resonating gyroscopes. Also, micromachined gyroscopes and accelerometers are making an important impact on modern INSs. A brief description and operational principles of gyroscopes and accelerometers suitable for inertial navigation are as follows.Major advances in INS over the years include the development of the
electrostatic gyro
 (ESG) and the laser gyro. In ESG, the rotor spins at a speed above 200,000 rpm in a near-vacuum envi-ronment. The rotor is suspended by an electrostatic field; thus, it is free from bearing friction and
U W 
 P  R
RollYaw Pitch
Inertial navigation is for monitoring the movement of an object such as a vehicle, rocket, ship, air-cra, and robot with respect to a reference axis. Vehicles such as aircras and marine vessels have their own local axes, known as the roll, the pitch, and the yaw.
© 2014 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
   D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   I  n  s   t   i   t  u   t  o   T  e  c  n  o   l  o  g   i  c  o   d  e   A  e  r  o  n  a  u   t   i  c  a   (   I   T   A   )   ]  a   t   0   5  :   5   8   0   1   A  p  r   i   l   2   0   1   4
Inertial Navigation
other random torques due to mechanical supports. Hence, its operation results in a superior per-formance compared to others, closely resembling the performance of a theoretical gyro. Although no system can claim to reach perfection, an ESG requires less frequent updates compared to other mechanical gyros. Gyroscopes are an important element of inertial navigation; therefore, they will be described further.
Gyro X Gyro Y Gyro Z Accel X Accel Y Accel Z Null loopsNavigation computerIntegrationsCorrections(Coriolis)(Gravity) AccelerationsGimbalangles
GyrotorquingPosition, speed, attitudeGimbalsFixed axes
Some INSs are based on a navigational platform. e sensors are mounted in such a way to stay leveled at all times and pointing in a xed direction. is system uses a set of gimbals and sensors attached on three axes in the
, and
 directions to continuously monitor the angles and accelerations. e navigation computer makes corrections for coriolis forces, gravity, and other adverse eects.
Computer and signal processingGyro Y Accelerometer YAccelerometer X Gyro Z Accelerometer ZGyro X
Strapdown gyros and accelerometers are mounted rigidly on the structure of the vehicle, and the measurements are referenced to the local axes of roll, pitch, and yaw. e gyros measure the movement of angles in the three axes in short time intervals to be processed by the computer. is information is used, together with the accelerometer outputs, for predicting navigation axes, thus eliminating the need for gimbals.
© 2014 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
   D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   I  n  s   t   i   t  u   t  o   T  e  c  n  o   l  o  g   i  c  o   d  e   A  e  r  o  n  a  u   t   i  c  a   (   I   T   A   )   ]  a   t   0   5  :   5   8   0   1   A  p  r   i   l   2   0   1   4

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