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Micro-Electromechanical Gyroscope for Improved Inertial Navigation Systems Performance


RT&L FOCUS AREA(S): General Warfighting Requirements

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platforms; Battlespace Environments; Electronics

OBJECTIVE: Design and develop a miniature, low-cost, high-performance inertial navigation system based on novel micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) gyroscope technology for improved performance and Space, Weight, Power, and Cooling (SWaP-C).

DESCRIPTION: The Department of the Navy (DON) has emphasized the need for aerial platforms to have GPS-independent position, navigation, and timing capability. In order to satisfy the position and navigational capability goals, more advanced inertial navigation systems (INS) are needed. Inertial measurement units (IMUs) based on MEM technology could be the key to obtaining this sought after INS capability. MEMS gyroscopes are gaining increased usage in commercial and military applications because of their low size, weight, and power characteristics; MEMS-based IMUs that are shock/vibration resistant have the potential to provide accurate GPS-independent position and navigation data. Recent advances in the construction of MEMS devices have made it possible to manufacture small and light IMUs. Improvements in MEM gyroscope technology include characteristics such as bias drift prediction, micro-capacitance sensing, structure-borne noise and vibration analysis, quality factor optimization, bandwidth expansion, data compensation, quadrature error correction, and ease of fabrication. The availability of new MEMS, such as the Double U-beam vibration ring gyroscope (DUVRG), have the potential to improve unaided INS performance while retaining the ability to operate in the harsh environments common to Navy aviation platforms. A number of DUVRG structures can be combined into a small area, with opposing temperature and noise sensitivities to offset errors, and their outputs averaged for improved drift rates. The Navy seeks vibration and shock resistant tactical grade IMU for inertial navigation that are less than 3 in³, (volume), 100g (weight), and 2.3W (power) with position/angle/angle rate errors of 0.2m/0.1°/.005° per hour or less. This SBIR topic seeks vibration and shock [Ref 1] resistant tactical grade IMU for inertial navigation that are less than 3 in3, (volume), 100g (weight), and 2.3W (power) with position/angle/angle rate errors of 0.2m/0.1°/.005° per hour or less.

PHASE I: Demonstrate feasibility of the MEM gyroscope technology, including the use of DUVRGs in the design of a robust INS with state-of-the-art unaided drift characteristics. Determine how much improvement in position, pointing, roll and pitch accuracy can be obtained using advanced MEM gyroscope technology, and begin designing a DURVG-based (or other innovative MEM gyroscope) INS using modeling and/or analysis. The Phase I effort will include prototype plans to be developed under Phase II.

PHASE II: Develop, demonstrate, and validate a DUVRG-based or other innovative MEM gyroscope-based INS prototype. Perform bench level tests to verify the performance of prototype. Assess performance in a representative environment using MIL-STD-810 [Ref 1].

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Complete development of a MEM gyroscope-based INS prototype and demonstrate performance in an actual, operational environment. Integrate and transition to Navy hosting platforms. This technology would benefit any organization (i.e., space launch vehicles, commercial driver less vehicles, Merchant Marine vessels, and civilian aircraft) seeking a means of long term navigation without GPS.


  1. “MIL-STD-810H, Department of Defense Test Method Standard: Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests (January 31, 2019).” Department of Defense.  
  2. Gallacher, B.J. “Principles of a micro-rate integrating ring gyroscope.” IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, 48(1), 2012, pp. 658-672.  
  3. Cao, H.; Liu, Y.; Kou, Z.; Zhang, Y.; Shao, X.; Gao, J.; Huang, K.; Shi, Y.; Tang, J.; Shen, C. and Liu, J. “Design, fabrication and experiment of double U-beam MEMS vibration ring gyroscope.” Micromachines, 10(3), 186, 2019.  
  4. Mayberry, C.L. “Interface circuits for readout and control of a micro-hemispherical resonating gyroscope (Doctoral dissertation, Georgia Institute of Technology).”  
  5. Kou, Z.; Liu, J.; Cao, H.; Feng, H.; Ren, J.; Kang, Q. and Shi, Y. “Design and fabrication of a novel MEMS vibrating ring gyroscope [Paper presentation].” 2017 IEEE 3rd Information Technology and Mechatronics Engineering Conference (ITOEC), Chongqing, China, October 3-5, 2017.  
  6. Xia, D.; Yu, C. and Kong, L. “The development of micromachined gyroscope structure and circuitry technology.” Sensors, 14(1), January 14, 2014, pp. 1394-1473.
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