Easy to Understand IMU Explanation

Low-cost Attitude-control MEMS IMU

The emergence of IMU technology makes up for the lack of GPS positioning. The two complement each other, which can enable autonomous vehicle to obtain the most accurate positioning information.

The full name of IMU is inertial measurement unit, that is, inertial measurement unit. It is composed of three uniaxial accelerometers and three uniaxial gyroscopes. The accelerometers detect the acceleration signals of the independent three axes of the object in the carrier coordinate system, and the gyroscopes detect the angular velocity signals of the carrier relative to the navigation coordinate system. After these signals are processed, the attitude of the object can be calculated.

It is worth noting that IMU provides relative positioning information. Its function is to measure the route of the object relative to the starting point, so it cannot provide the specific location information of your location. Therefore, it is often used with GPS. When in some places with weak GPS signal, IMU can play its role, allowing the car to continue to obtain the absolute location information, so as not to “get lost”.

In fact, although the technology of IMU seems relatively strange, in fact, the mobile phones we use every day, cars, planes, and even missiles and spacecraft will use IMU. The difference lies in cost and accuracy.

According to different use scenarios, there are different requirements for the accuracy of IMU. High accuracy also means high cost.

Low precision IMU: used in ordinary consumer electronic products, this low-precision IMU is very cheap. It is widely used in mobile phones and sports watches, and is often used to record the number of steps taken.

Medium precision IMU: used in driverless vehicles, the price ranges from hundreds to tens of thousands of pieces, depending on the positioning accuracy requirements of this driverless vehicle.

High precision IMU: used in missiles or space shuttles. Take the missile as an example. From the launch of the missile to the hit of the target, the aerospace IMU can achieve very high precision calculation, and the error can even be less than one meter.

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