Crossbow integrates GPS with MEMS

June 10. 2004- Crossbow Technology Inc. has launched a series of systems that provide navigation, position and leveling information to air and watercraft.

The NAV420 series packs MEMS-based accelerometer and gyro clusters with a global positioning satellite receiver and other sensors and software in a 3-inch cube. San Jose, Calif.-based Crossbow said previous models had separate boxes for the inertial systems and GPS.

“We spent five or six years doing a lot of different applications, using MEMS sensors in real-life applications,” said Dean Johnson, Crossbow’s vice president of inertial systems.

“We’ve taken everything we’ve learned about vibration, temperature, electromagnetic or radio interference and built it into this unit,” he added.

The system provides information to an autopilot or display on whether the craft is straight and level, and the direction it’s going, within 1 degree of accuracy. It’s designed to replace larger and less reliable mechanical sensors: “They now last the lifetime of the airplane, instead of being a maintenance item,” Johnson said.

The NAV420, which will begin shipping in about eight weeks, is designed for both military and commercial markets, including unmanned aerial vehicles, experimental manned aircraft and marine applications.


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