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Launchpad: Inertial sensors, ground control targets

January 4, 2021  - By

A roundup of recent products in the GNSS and inertial positioning industry from the December 2020 issue of GPS World magazine.


Inertial system

Ready for UAVs, robotics

Photo: Inertial Labs

Photo: Inertial Labs

The INS-DU is a high-performance strapdown inertial navigation system (INS) that determines position, velocity and absolute orientation of a platform it is mounted to. Its dual-antenna u-blox receiver provides 1-cm real-time kinematic (RTK) position from RTCM 3 RTK corrections and supports multiple GNSS constellations. Designed for UAVs, land vehicles and marine vessels, the INS-DU uses a range of aiding data to deliver a highly accurate solution for GNSS-denied environments. It uses a miniAHRS with 3-axes each of precision magnetometers, accelerometers and gyroscopes to provide orientation. It contains algorithms for the motion of robots, autonomous vehicles and antennas.

Inertial Labs,

Space modules

Hardened for extremes

Photo: Sensonor

Photo: Sensonor

The high-accuracy tactical-grade STIM277H gyro module and STIM377H inertial measurement unit (IMU) were designed to meet space segment needs. Both have hermetic aluminum enclosures, and all parts are tested for fine and gross leak to conform to MIL-STD-883J, Class H. While a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) product, Sensonor has carried out extensive radiation characterizations. The design is tested for a 20+ years operating life through high-temperature operating life (HTOL) testing. Backwardly compatible with Sensonor’s other IMU and gyro modules, STIM277H and STIM377H are designed for satellite attitude and orbit control systems (AOCS), launchers, portable target acquisition systems, UAV payloads, land navigation systems, turret stabilization, missile stability and GNSS-supported navigation systems.


OEM boards

Optimized for low-power consumption

Photo: Septentrio

Photo: Septentrio

The AsteRx-m3 family features GPS/GNSS OEM boards optimized for power consumption and ease of integration. An easy-to-integrate design enables short set-up times and faster time-to-market. The AsteRx-m3 offers multi-frequency, multi-constellation positioning combined with Septentrio’s GNSS+ technology while optimizing power. The AsteRx-m3 Pro rover receiver tracks signals from all available GNSS constellations on three frequencies, and operates both in single- and dual-antenna modes. The AsteRx-m3 ProBase is designed to operate as a reference station for RTK and PPP-RTK networks. The AsteRx-m3 Pro+ is a full-feature OEM receiver board flexible enough to fit into any application and to be used either as a rover or a base station in a single- or dual-antenna mode.


GNSS anti-jam units

Fight RF interference



New anti-jamming antennas available are the QR200 GPS dual-frequency L1/L2 anti-jamming antenna, the QR201 GNSS multi-frequency band anti-jamming antenna, and the QR202 GNSS multi-frequency band anti-jamming antenna with additional L-band reception (1520–1560 MHz). All models provide robust GPS or GNSS navigation and block intentional jamming and unintentional RF interference timing or 3D positioning. All three are lightweight (230 grams for the QR1xx series and 500 grams for the QR2xx series) with low power consumption (1–1.5W typically, depending on configuration), and can be mounted on any platform (cars, poles, drones, etc.).

Quantum Reversal,

Positioning sensor

Centimeter-accurate positioning

Photo: FixPosition

Photo: FixPosition

The Vision-RTK positioning sensor is a compact centimeter-accurate solution with high reliability and availability in challenging environments. The module integrates two real-time kinematic (RTK) GNSS receivers and visual inertial navigation. Its sensor-fusion algorithm is based on deep integration of GNSS, camera and inertial sensors. Real-time sensor fusion provides centimeter-accurate absolute positioning in any outdoor environment.



Ground control targets

Designed for UAV lidar surveys

Photo: RouteScene

Photo: RouteScene

Deploying ground control targets on accurately surveyed ground control points (GCP) assures that a UAV lidar survey has been properly executed. UAV lidar surveys are typically undertaken in remote, rural and sometimes hazardous locations where no fixed points are available, such as solid surfaces or concrete features. Routescene’s GCPs are raised from the ground using a mini tripod. A built-in bubble level enables accurate leveling and removes the need for a tribrach. Robustly engineered, the targets stay in position during adverse and windy conditions, reducing the risk of repositioning during a survey. They are covered with highly retro-reflective material to provide high-intensity returns. As a result, the targets are easily identifiable and can be automatically extracted from the geo-referenced point cloud.


Rugged tablet

Handheld computing with GNSs

Photo: Panasonic

Photo: Panasonic

The Toughbook A3 Android tablet is aimed at the mobile workforce. It has an outdoor viewable screen and patented rain-touch functionality. With a 10.1-inch screen and 6-foot drop rating, the A3 enables users across industries to tackle tough jobs and critical applications. The Qualcomm SDM660 chipset, which supports BeiDou, Galileo, GLONASS, GPS, BeiDou QZSS and SBAS. 4G LTE Band 14 EM7511 multi carrier mobile broadband with GPS. The tablet has a powerful octa-core processor, an optional integrated barcode reader, an insertable smart card reader and an insertable stylus. The A3 has a 5-foot drop rating and IP65 certification for dust and water resistance.




Avionics for advanced control of unmanned systems

Photo: Embention

Photo: Embention

Veronte Autopilot 1X is a miniaturized avionics system for advanced control of unmanned systems. The control system embeds a suite of sensors and processors with datalink radio, with reduced size and weight. The control system Veronte Autopilot 1X adds fully autonomous control capabilities to any unmanned system for complete operation. The Veronte control system is fully configurable for payload, platform layout, control phases and control channels. It uses real-time kinematic (RTK) positioning and provides cloud connectivity, sense-and-avoid support, electromagnetic interference and vibration isolation.


Commercial drone

Offers centimeter-level accuracy

Photo: Auterion

Photo: Auterion

The Astro commercial drone platform is equipped with Freefly’s multi-band, real-time kinematic (RTK) system, which provides centimeter-level precision with a u-blox F9P GNSS module. The drone is equipped with a 60-megapixel Sony camera. A customized version of Skynode powers each Astro, providing LTE connectivity, an onboard Linux mission computer, and seamless connectivity to Auterion Mission Control and Cloud Suite. The Auterion ecosystem provides robust, secure and scalable drone planning, flight and compliance management solution.



Guidance system

For pilots in aerial applications

Photo: Insero

Photo: Insero

The guidance system AgPilotX for aerial applicators uses three wireless components: a GPS/GNSS lightbar, a hub and an Apple iPad. The smart components run off their own computer, communicating to each other wirelessly. The AgPilotX Smart Lightbar has onboard GPS+GLONASS as well as a GNSS antenna, so there is no need to run an antenna up to the aircraft canopy. The Lightbar logs the data, while a hub connects the switches (swath advance, swath decrement, spray on/off) and peripherals, and an iPad runs the interface software through an Apple App. All logs are saved as unique jobs and can be returned to at any time. The lightbar is not dependent upon the iPad to operate and will continue to work the active job even if you start using a different App or even shut the Apple device completely off.



High accuracy for autonomous vehicles, robotics

The Colosseum X XAHP.50 antenna. (Photo: Taoglas)

The Colosseum X XAHP.50 antenna. (Photo: Taoglas)

Two new active, multiband GNSS antennas are engineered for applications that require critical high-accuracy positioning and timing, including autonomous driving and precision agriculture. The MagmaX2 AA.200 is designed for space- and weight-constrained applications, such as robotic lawnmowers. Embedded versions are also available. It is a low-profile active multiband GNSS magnetic mount antenna for use across most major constellations including GPS (L1/L2/L5), GLONASS (G1/G2/G5), Galileo (E1/E5a/E5b) and BeiDou(B1/B2). The Colosseum X XAHP.50 is a geodetic-quality small-dome antenna suitable for a vehicle roof mount or pole mount. It is engineered to operate with high-precision capabilities on the full GNSS spectrum. Sub meter positional accuracy better than 55 cm is achievable, even without the use of RTK correctional services.