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12.10.2017 Science

Scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University together with its industrial partner Tomsk Research Institute of Semiconductor Devices are designing an intelligent module based on microelectromechanical sensors for orientation and navigation systems of CAM vehicles. The module will makes it possible to determine the location and trajectory of vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles and submarines, without such satellite systems as GLONASS or GPS. The Tomsk breakthrough may replace its foreign counterparts as it will be more compact. The project has been recently supported by the Federal Target Program Research and Development in Priority Areas for the Development of Russian Scientific and Technological Complex for 2014-2020 with a grant of 45 million rubles.



The main elements of the module are inertial sensors based on microelectromechanical sensors. These include a gyroscope that identifies the angular motion of an object in space; an accelerometer presenting a device monitoring the linear motion of an object; a magnetometer presenting a sensor that reacts to the Earth’s magnetic field and helps to determine cardinal directions.

‘There is a great variety of microelectromechanical sensors throughout the globe. However, in our country this area is underdeveloped and manufacturers are forced to use imported components.

Therefore, there is a need for domestic navigation systems for both civil and special transport vehicles. Meanwhile, this requires miniature navigation systems. By the end of 2019 we will obtain an experimental sample of the intelligent module based on microelectromechanical sensors, it will form the basis of navigation systems,’ says project supervisor Ass.Prof. of the Department of Precise Instrument Making Tamara Nesterenko.


Similar modules usually consist of nine sensors: three gyroscopes, three accelerometers and three magnetometers. TPU researchers found a way to reduce their number to two pieces.


‘The module will include only two sensors. One combines the functions of gyroscope and accelerometer, while the second will serve as a magnetometer. They will be placed on the same plane. The area of the module will make up a few square millimeters. In the future, such a small size allows embedding the module into pedestrian navigation systems. If it is added with wireless connection it will be able to transmit information on an object movement to the control point. This is relevant, for example, for staff of the Emergency Ministry. Thus, it will be possible to track the movements of firefighters inside burning buildings,’ notes the engineer of the Department of Precise Instrument Making Evgeniy Barbin.


TPU researchers managed to reduce the number of sensors and as a result the size of the module due to new design solutions. They are protected with five patents, the latter was received in summer 2017.


‘Such navigation systems which can operate without satellite communication are of medium and low accuracy. In fact, they represent backup systems, when satellite communication is impossible: in remote areas, dense forests, dense urban landscapes, underwater depths or in case when vehicle can but should not communicate with satellites,’ adds Tamara Nesterenko. 

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