A point cloud is created by scanning an area with a 3D Laser Scanner. This scan is then imported into post-processing software (unless desired accuracy is obtained in real-time) where errors are removed. After processing the data, modeling software is used where the clouds can either be geo-referenced to a ground plane or manipulated locally without reference. From here, point clouds are then exported into computer-aided design (CAD) or building information modeling (BIM) systems, where they can be manipulated further, generating meshes and applying boundary conditions to generate accurate and realistic 3D models (1). Even with an explanation of a point cloud it is still hard to understand what a point cloud is if one has not been familiarized with the technology. When the user performs a scan, the laser scanner sends out beams of light in many different directions. As these light beams are reflected to the scanner, the system uses a datalogger to record reflected positions as localized vectors. These scan files can contain as little as thousands of logged vectors or as many as millions, if not billions depending on the scanning project at hand. These 3D vectors are then used in the post-processing software to generate a visualized point cloud.
For years Inertial Labs has produced high accuracy Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) at the world’s best price-performance ratio. An INS estimates the position, attitude, and velocity using the gyroscopes and accelerometers contained inside an inertial measurement unit (IMU). Position accuracy can be greatly improved when the INS is aided by Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). However, GNSS is not always available. Customer requirements demand for better performance of an INS during a GNSS outage. Outages can be caused by tunnels, urban canyons, roads under bridges, etc.
Sensor fusion plays a large role in any device that is attempting to produce estimated, quantifiable data. Sensor fusion is the ability to bring together inputs from multiple sensors to produce a single model whose result is more accurate than that of the individual inputs alone. There are three fundamental methods of sensor fusion:
- Redundant Sensors- All sensors give the same information for the environment.
- Complementary Sensors- The sensors provide independent, disjointed information about its environment.
- Coordinated Sensors- The sensors collect information about its environment sequentially.
From there, the information is communicated in one of three different ways. In a centralized setup, all sensors provide information to a common central node. If the configuration is decentralized, no information is communicated between the sensors and the nodes. If it is a distributed organization, then the nodes interchange sensor information at a given rate.
History of Marine Navigation
Early sea-fairing explorers utilized the stars as their navigational aid. Celestial navigation, or otherwise known as astronavigation utilized devices such as the gnomon, Kamal, sea astrolabe, quadrant, cross-staff, back-staff and sextant.
Dating back as early as 200 BCE in China during the reign of the Qin dynasty, the Chinese originally used magnetism to construct fortune-telling boards, which turned out to be used for following directions in more than one way (1). Early magnetic compasses began to be commonly used as navigation aids in the 11th century.
What is a Remote Weapons Station?
A Remote Weapons Station (RWS) is a remotely operated weapons platform that utilizes light and medium caliber artillery shells. Typically, an RWS contains sensing components (angular rates, accelerations, etc.), motor drives, a turret, and a computer. Today, companies like Electro Optic Systems Pty Ltd are patenting next generation Electro Optic RWS that are gyro-stabilized, combat ready, and built for precision targeting(1).
Since the two most important characteristics for an RWS are aiming speed and accuracy, advanced methods of stabilization are required to ensure that targets are correctly dealt with. The most important component in this task is the gyroscope.