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Orientation Tracking in the Live and Virtual Training and Testing Environments


OBJECTIVE: Develop a low cost sensor that can accurately measure angular rate and position of a weapon system in all Six Degrees Of Freedom (6DOF) which is ultra low power, capable of determining absolute heading, however, requiring no in initial or sustainment calibration; for the purposes of Live and Virtual Non Line-of-Sight (NLOS) and Direct Fire tactical engagement simulation. DESCRIPTION: Many weapons systems and future concepts cannot be simulated using current line-of-sight laser-based systems, e.g. Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES), in Live training exercises. Additionally, the Army has identified a Virtual small arms weapon training capability gap, using actual weapons in lieu of simulated weapons. There are many existing sensors on the commercial market that meet some of the Army"s requirements but not all of them. Typically, Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) sensor modules use both gyros and magnetometers to measure the pointing vector of the weapon system, however these sensors have many error sources that substantially reduce the reliability and accuracy of the engagement which results in unrealistic or negative training. Current Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology has provided system on chip capabilities for measuring 6 DOF orientation, however, due to poor signal-to-noise ratios and their sensitivity to temperature changes, accuracy is sacrificed and has proven insufficient to meet the Army"s technology gap. Current high-end, tactical grade Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) provide the needed accuracy and environmental robustness, but remain unsuitable due to extraordinarily large size, power consumption and unit cost. We are seeking an innovative approach to precisely measure 6 DOF orientation, but in a low cost and low power form factor. It must be capable of measuring absolute heading (geodetic north) with an accuracy of 3 mils. The approach must be capable of measuring orientation in all environmental conditions where soldiers can operate. The device must operate while undergoing a slew rate of 60 degrees per second (threshold metric) and a slew rate of 300 degrees per second (objective metric). Additionally, the sensor and its associated processing electronics shall be enclosed in a package no greater than 1 inch wide by 1 inch high by 4 inches long while assuming that power will be provided externally to the sensor, but also assuming that it is very scarce. The sensor should require no initial, nor maintenance calibration. We are also seeking a solution which is low cost, at a production cost of less than $2000 per unit. PHASE I: Validate viability of the technical approach through simulation or mathematical model. PHASE II: Develop an initial breadboard prototype (TRL4 - Component and/or breadboard validation in laboratory environment) and develop an advanced prototype (TRL6 - System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment) with transition customer collaboration with respect to requirements, design review, and prototype test and evaluation. System must be capable of being mounted on actual weapon systems and used in the Live/Virtual training environments. PHASE III: Likely military applications are for simulated tactical engagement training and, UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) flight control or ground based unmanned vehicle navigation and flight control, and for far target laser designators. Commercial application would be for light aircraft navigation and flight control. Likely transition opportunities in the test and training domains under PEO STRI are the One Tactical Engagement Simulation System (OneTESS), the Dismounted Soldier Training System (DSTS), the Call For Fire Trainer (CFFT), and the Engagement Skills Trainer (EST). In the operational domain, likely transition opportunity exists with PEO Soldier PM Soldier Systems & Lasers and their Laser Target Locator Modules (LTLM) that implement the use of a digital magnetic compass (DMC).
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