What is an Inertial Navigation System?

GNSS 
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Editorial Team - everything RF

Nov 4, 2019

An Inertial Navigation System (INS) is a device that provides the position, velocity, and acceleration of a moving object at any time without the help of GPS. This device uses motion sensors (accelerometers) and rotation sensors (gyroscopes) to continuously calculate the direction and speed of movement of the object at any instance.

INS systems are also not susceptible to tampering or hacking as they don’t transmit any signals to any external references like GPS, GLONASS etc. They depend only on the input from accelerometers and gyroscopes, directly embedded into the device, for providing navigational data. They are often used along with GNSS solutions to calculate positioning information in satellite blind spots or when going through caves or tunnels where satellite reception is not available. 

An Inertial Navigation System consists of two parts:

  • An inertial measurement unit (IMU): IMU is an electronic device that provides acceleration and angular velocity measurements using a combination of accelerometers, gyroscopes, and sometimes magnetometers.
  • A Processor: The processor collects data from the IMU and calculates the relative position, orientation and velocity of the INS.

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