31.3.2020

Small, Precise and Affordable Gyroscope for Navigating without GPS

Small, Precise and Affordable Gyroscope for Navigating without GPS – link

Source: UAS Vision

Article Headlines

  • A small, inexpensive and highly accurate gyroscope, developed at the University of Michigan, could help drones and autonomous cars stay on track without a GPS signal
  • “Our gyroscope is 10,000 times more accurate but only 10 times more expensive than gyroscopes used in your typical cell phones. This gyroscope is 1,000 times less expensive than much larger gyroscopes with similar performance,” said Khalil Najafi, Professor of Engineering at U-M and a professor of electrical engineering and computer science
  • “High-performance gyroscopes are a bottleneck, and they have been for a long time. This gyroscope can remove this bottleneck by enabling the use of high-precision and low-cost inertial navigation in most autonomous vehicles,” said Jae Yoong Cho, an assistant research scientist in electrical engineering and computer science
  • The key to making this affordable, small gyroscope is a nearly symmetrical mechanical resonator. It looks like a Bundt pan crossed with a wine glass, made one centimeter wide. As with wine glasses, the duration of the ringing tone produced when the glass is struck depends on the quality of the glass—but instead of being an aesthetic feature, the ring is crucial to the gyroscope’s function. The complete device uses electrodes placed around the glass resonator to push and pull on the glass, making it ring and keeping it going
  • “Basically, the glass resonator vibrates in a certain pattern. If you suddenly rotate it, the vibrating pattern wants to stay in its original orientation. So, by monitoring the vibration pattern it is possible to directly measure rotation rate and angle,” said Sajal Singh, a doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering who helped develop the manufacturing process.
  • The way that the vibrating motion moves through the glass reveals when, how fast and by how much the gyroscope spins in space
  • The research was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Overview & Comments

  • In January 2018 DARPA launched the subterranean challenge with the key objective of thinking about a range of platforms that can work across any kind of underground
  • Subsequent tests in urban and cave environments are planned to come in February and August 2020, respectively, with a final event in August 2021
  • See “New method for GPS-denied navigation for closed spaces” 

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