New MEMS-Based Inertial Measurement Unit from Crossbow Technology

Crossbow Technology Inc., a leading supplier of advanced sensor systems for the military, announced availability of the next-generation GNAV540, a low-cost, ruggedized system providing accurate and reliable position, heading and orientation data for mission-critical navigation and sensor payloads on manned and unmanned ground vehicles.

Separately, Crossbow said it had been awarded $1.9 million in government R&D funding for its groundbreaking “Northfinder” system. That product, still in development, aims to replace the digital magnetic compass through a new, MEMS-based technology that determines heading by measuring the Earth’s rotational rate. The system is needed because magnetic compasses—widely used in military applications today—are highly susceptible to interference by nearby magnetic objects and can result in heading errors of as much as ten degrees.

Northfinder is a compact, lightweight system that could be carried by an individual soldier and used for more precise military targeting and improved vehicle navigation, as well as civilian applications including construction and oil-and-gas drilling.

The new GNAV540, a GPS-aided Inertial Measurement Unit, is also MEMS-based. It was developed in close collaboration with the military and is an upgraded, militarized version of Crossbow’s commercial, off-the-shelf NAV440 product. It includes the latest generation of high-performance MEMS gyroscopes and accelerometers.

The GNAV540 also offers new features including an internal, military SAASM GPS receiver; a MIL-C-38999 Series III connector; and Ethernet connectivity. All are housed in a fully sealed enclosure designed to withstand harsh battlefield environments. The system is ideally suited for vehicle and sensor-payload applications on platforms including MRAPs, M-ATVs, unmanned surface vehicles, unmanned ground vehicles and remote-operated weapons systems.

“The GNAV540 provides system designers an attractive alternative to the larger, heavier, power-hungry and expensive inertial systems offered in the military marketplace today,” said Mike Horton, Crossbow’s president and CEO. “Simply put, our system is smaller, lighter, cheaper and more efficient.”

Crossbow’s product could be used with vehicle shot-location systems to determine the absolute coordinates of a sniper, for example, or by an unmanned surface vehicle to provide critical input data to its navigation system. The GNAV540 also can stabilize optical sensors, antennas and weapons systems to increase accuracy and effectiveness—all critical goals in today’s ever-volatile military theaters.



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