Xsens upgrades inertial motion sensors for drones

Upgraded versions of Xsens’ MTi 1 series of motion-sensing inertial measurement unit (IMU) modules offer improved roll, pitch and yaw measurement accuracy and higher tolerance of mechanical stress than the first generation of IMUs, says the company.

The four modules in the MTi 1-series modules share the same footprint, pin allocation and software interface as the earlier iteration which are used to provide accurate motion tracking and orientation capabilities in high-volume smart agriculture, construction, marine, industrial and logistics applications. The four models are the MTi-1 (providing inertial measurement data), the MTi-2 (a vertical reference unit providing inertial measurement data, roll/pitch measurements, and heading tracking), the MTi-3 (an attitude heading and reference system providing inertial measurement data and roll/pitch/yaw measurements) and the MTi-7 (GNSS/INS module providing full 3D orientation, position and velocity data as well as inertial measurement data). All four can be used as drop-in replacements in existing system designs, says Xsens.

The modules integrate what are claimed to be best-in-class accelerometer and gyroscope ICs alongside sensor fusion algorithms. The modules synthesise the inputs from multiple motion sensors at high speed to provide synchronised data on an objects heading, orientation, acceleration and position. The  Xsens sensor fusion technology produces accurate measurements of high-frequency motion, for stabilisation of handheld laser scanners and of professional unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and drones.

The updated MTi 1modules’ improved performance characteristics include static roll/pitch measurement accuracy of 0.5rms, dynamic roll/pitch measurement accuracy of 0.8rms, and dynamic yaw measurement accuracy of 2rms.

Xsens has also improved the mechanical design of the modules’ 12.1x 12.1 x 2.6mm surface-mount package, which is less susceptible to the effects of torsional stress, and thus more robust and reliable in demanding applications that are subject to shock or vibration, claims the company. The upgraded module still weighs less than 1.0g.

To support the modules, Xsens also offers a development kit which includes a shield board with an Arduino-compatible header for easy integration into shield-based prototype systems. The kit is supplied with Xsens MT software suite for the Windows and Linux operating platforms, and a software development kit with drivers and embedded software examples. It provides access to the modules’ I2C, SPI and UART interfaces and a micro-USB connection.


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