DARPA – the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – has picked Honeywell Aerospace to partner on a leading-edge effort to make dramatic improvements in the accuracy of precision inertial instruments.
Honeywell is the most experienced provider of inertial navigation technology used on commercial and military aircraft, spacecraft, ships, guided munitions and land vehicles. Working with DARPA, the company aims to improve the accuracy of inertial measurement units (IMUs) by three orders of magnitude compared with Honeywell's HG1930 IMU.
There’s a growing need for reliable navigation technology when global positioning system data is not available. Applications to provide accurate navigation information in GPS-denied environments have relied on Honeywell’s gyroscopes and accelerometers, which are small electronic sensors that measure rotation and acceleration and are similar to motion sensors in a modern-day smartphone.
DARPA wants Honeywell to find ways to improve the performance and reduce the power of its IMUs, which feature miniaturized gyroscopes and accelerometers, by applying advanced design and fabrication techniques to its existing inertial sensors based on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). The end result will be a smaller and more precise navigation solution that enables users to operate in hostile GPS-denied environments with improved functionality and accuracy and at a lower cost.
Honeywell has started work on this project and expects to have the technology ready to test in the coming years. This work with DARPA deepens our commitment to innovation in navigation by working toward the next generation of systems for a rapidly changing environment.