If you have watched broadcasted outdoor sports events recently, then you may have noticed small, spider-like video drones hovering above the athletes. These unmanned helicopters, used for aerial filming, are remarkably maneuverable. They allow media outlets to move in closer to the action, and follow it more smoothly than a camera mounted on a crane or on a conventional helicopter.
What makes these video drones so nimble is a sophisticated system for motion control and stabilization, called an attitude and heading reference system (AHRS). An AHRS provides 3D orientation by integrating gyroscopes and fusing this data with accelerometer data and magnetometer data. These miniature components, known as MEMS (microelectromechanical systems), enable small, lightweight motion-tracking solutions that are more accurate, more reliable, and cost-effective than ever before.
When airborne, the drone experiences the near-constant presence of vibrations, sound waves, and accelerations and decelerations that can lead to temporary navigational errors and, over time, make the drone drift off-course (our recent blog, Sound Waves Killed the Drone, covers a recent paper on how sound waves can destabilize drones). The latest generation of vibration-rejecting MEMS gyroscopes feature high bandwidths and unique solid state Bulk Acoustic Wave (BAW) sensor designs. These advantages provide unprecedented vibration and shock rejection and stability over a wide frequency range enabling reliable and stable readings in harsh environments.
Qualtré’s 2nd generation BAW MEMS™ gyroscopes continue to push the performance envelope by delivering 3X better shock/vibration rejection, 2X lower noise, and 1.5X improvement in bias instability when compared to Qualtré’s previous generation gyros. With unprecedented vibration/shock rejection, stability, reliability and accuracy in harsh environments, and relatively lower manufacturing costs, BAW MEMS gyros are an attractive alternative to traditional tuning fork gyros and are improving the next generation of motion-tracking applications like drones. Click here to learn more.