Autonomous Vehicles have long been viewed as the logical next monumental breakthrough in engineering. A fantastical feat that has been depicted throughout Hollywood and analyzed by many journals; autonomous vehicles are one of the most highly scrutinized potential breakthroughs of this decade. There are 6 levels of autonomy which represent a progressive pathway to level 5 – full autonomy. So, this begs the questions: How long until we reach complete autonomy? What level of autonomy are we at now? And how is it accomplished? First, let’s get a clear picture of what each level of autonomy entails.
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.
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.
Ensuring our infrastructure is running, and our job and construction sites are safe should be a top priority. However, the maintenance and inspections needed is inherently dangerous and often time-consuming and repetitive, making drones instrumental and valuable tools.
Drones can capture all kinds of data from images and videos, LiDAR scanning, mapping data, and a variety of data types related to air conditions, location, and precision location, including inertial data. As a result of using drones for these initial inspections, we can more quickly pinpoint the location and cause of the problem, and ensure that fewer humans are put in harm’s way.
Aerial Photogrammetric analysis may be applied to a single image or high-speed imagery and remote sensing to detect, measure and record complex 3D motion fields. This is done by feeding measurements and image analysis into computational models that estimate the relative motions and positions with increasing accuracy. While in its early days it was used mostly for topographic mapping, it’s application base has recently expanded into numerous industries. Modern sensors and software capabilities allow for the creation of precise 3D renderings and point cloud generation which is widely used in industries such as Filming, Sports, Game Development, Agriculture, Real Estate, Forensics, Land Surveying, and in Civil or Architectural Engineering. For these different applications, two methods of photogrammetry are used in practice today, Aerial Triangulation (AT), and a more modern approach, Direct Georeferencing.