Unmanned Systems Get Smaller as Demand Continues to Grow

FOGs stabilize precision optical systems deployed in high speed gimbals.


FOGs stabilize precision optical systems deployed in high speed gimbals.

Demand continues to grow for all types of unmanned systems, based in large part on their field-proven success in increasing mission performance and enhanced personal safety for warfighters. A trend spotted at the recent AUSA Winter Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, features the smaller, more agile unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) like those demo’d by the U.S. Army’s Rapid Equipping Force.

“Small robots and all other unmanned systems – land, sea and air – require small, highly accurate sensor systems,” says Jay Napoli, KVH’s VP of FOG/OEM Sales, who attended the recent AUSA winter show. “But cost is also a key issue – and that’s where the DSP-1750 fiber optic gyro (FOG) comes in.”

KVH’s DSP-1750 is the world’s smallest precision FOG; its unique design and high accuracy performance is made possible by KVH’s breakthrough 170-micron E-Core ThinFiber. KVH is the only US manufacturer of FOGs that draws its own optical fiber. This means KVH’s engineers are able to explore new solutions to the challenges of building more precision into ever smaller, lighter sensor packages.

Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) are controlled via data provided by FOG-based inertial navigation systems.

Anticipating the trend toward smaller unmanned systems requiring greater accuracy in stabilization, navigation and precision pointing, KVH is using its high performing and cost effective DSP-1750 FOG as the building block for a new line of inertial sensors and sensor systems. These new Series 1750 systems are expected to deliver higher performance with a smaller profile than possible with past FOG technology. And these robust little gyros are also going to give engineers the performance they need without driving up production costs, notes Jay, “Knowing what’s going on now in unmanned systems, our Series 1750 inertial systems are going to hit that ‘sweet spot’ with accuracy, size and price.”

Lightweight, small and precise FOGs and FOG-based sensor systems solve the guidance, navigation and stabilization challenges faced by unmanned systems engineers developing applications for everything from self-driving cars to small reconnaissance robots; and from underwater remotely operated surveying units to UAVs performing stealth surveillance.

About Pam Cleveland 29 Articles
Manager, Inertial Navigation Marketing and Global Proposals