Groundbreaking advancements in inertial navigation technology have literally taken the aerospace industry in new directions since introduced three decades ago. Honeywell pioneered development of the inertial measurement unit – or IMU – in the mid-1990s and recently produced the 500,000th IMU at its facility in Minneapolis.
These electronic gadgets changed the face of navigation by replacing the large and heavy “spinning iron” gyros that once were state-of-the-art for navigation.
IMUs use gyroscopes, accelerometers and electronics to provide vehicles like aircraft, spacecraft and missiles with vital data that enable precise navigation. Newer models incorporate global positioning sensors for even greater accuracy and micro electrical mechanical systems to reduce size. As technology has advanced, IMUs are available in much smaller packages, which enable a wider range of aerospace and commercial uses.
Honeywell inertial sensors are used on most of the world’s aircraft and spacecraft and many undersea vehicles. They guide aerial refueling booms, survey underwater oil and gas pipelines, and enable surveyors and map-makers to do their jobs. They’ve even helped stabilize cameras for NASCAR racers, been used for measurements by the National Football League and kept robots headed in the right direction.
The use of IMU technology continues to expand and Honeywell continues to invest in improving the accuracy, reliability and affordability of the sensors we produce. New products are in development and we continue to look for new ways to apply our unique expertise in the field.