University taps Northrop for DARPA project

Sept. 25, 2012 at 1:38 PM
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WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., Sept. 25 (UPI) -- The University of California has tapped Northrop Grumman for help on a project for long-term calibration of inertial sensors used navigation systems.

Under the subcontract for a project sponsored by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Northrop and the university will develop an integrated, ultra-miniaturized microsystem -- comprised of a gyroscope and accelerometer -- within the inertial sensing elements, which measure rotation rate and acceleration.

The in-situ calibration of inertial devices "eliminates the need for components to be recalled from the field for recalibration by the manufacturer and then reinserted," Northrop said, thus minimizing the system's life-cycle costs.

"This microsystem development represents a significant step forward in the ability to continuously calibrate MEMS (Micro-electro-mechanical) system inertial sensors, bypassing the need for calibration after dormant periods," said Charles Volk, vice president and chief technology officer at Northrop Grumman.

"Not only may this research help to advance sensor technology and accuracy but it may also lead to increased affordability."

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