Thales to Update InterSense NavChip Series 3 at RoboBusiness

Image: Thales Visionix

September 24, 2019      

Thales Visionix today announced additions to its NavChip Series 3 Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), offering high-precision Class A and Class B options to give users expanded choices for their application at the best pricing option. The company said it would showcase the new IMUs at RoboBusiness 2019, to be held next week (Oct. 2-3, 2019) in Santa Clara, Calif.

The MEMS-based NavChip Series 3 includes advanced proprietary signal processing, and leverages the more than 20-year legacy of Thales in the aerospace navigation systems business to provide high performance IMUs for demanding applications. The expanded Series 3 options gives users the ability to choose the optimum performance to price in the market of six-axis IMUs, from its NavChip, Series 3 Class A and Class B parts, with varying performance levels and corresponding price points, the company added.

Multiple robotic applications

Thales said the NavChip Series 3 is “ideally suited for applications including robotic control, wheeled or tracked ground vehicles, and drone navigation,” especially in GPS-denied environments. Additional applications include camera/antenna platform stabilization, augmented/virtual reality, aiming and alignment, and GPS/INS integration.

The company said the rationale behind developing Class A and Class B parts was to increase the performance of a key parameter. “Class A bias in-run stability to 4º/hr. (typical), 5º/hr. (max.) with an output rate of 1000Hz; Class B bias in-run stability 5º/hr. (typical), 10º/hr. (max.) with an output rate of 1000Hz;  and thus make it more competitive for a broader range of applications over the +/- 16 g operating range (other ranges available upon request),” Thales said in a statement. In addition, the performance enhancement is part of a strategy to expand the number of products in its IMU product line to provide users with options to pick the best performance to best suit their application, while minimizing the cost.

Thales has priced the NavChip Series 3 per unit pricing as follows: 5º per hour gyro bias in-run stability @ $899; and 10º per hour gyro bias in-run stability @ $450 both in small quantities, with volume pricing available. Evaluation kits are available with accompanying integration software, USB and External Sync cable, the use of which facilitates the introduction of the IMU function into   the customers’ system is available for $1,495 for the 5º kit, and $895 for the 10º kit.  Adapter boards are also available. These items can be procured through Digi-Key.

Additional features, specs

Thales Visionix NavChip

Image: Thales Visionix

Other significant enhancements and features include:

  • A 1,000 Hz update rate;
  • Embedded attitude and heading reference system (AHRS), which reduces system complexity, cost and power consumption;
  • The ability to accept other external inputs, such as a magnetometer to enhance the overall systems’ performance, while maintaining cost and easing the design complexity.
  • Fully factory calibrated for bias, scale factor and misalignment over the full operating temperature range, from -40° C to +85 °C., with embedded temperature sensors.

Both the Class A and Class B options include a full-scale acceleration range of +/- 16 g, and a full-scale angular rate of 2,000 degrees/sec. Typical specifications include a gyro bias in-run stability of 4º/hr., 5º/hr. (max.); angular random walk of <0.18º/√hr.; velocity random walk of <0.3º/√hr. and an exceptionally quiet acceleration noise performance of better than 83 µg/√Hz, the company said.

Additional specifications of the series includes:

  • A package of less than 2.0cm3 (12.5 x 24.4 x 6.11 mm), and weight of 3g, which allows for flexible integration.
  • Power consumption is 135mW, which makes it ideally suited for power-sensitive remote and battery-operated systems.
  • Selectable built-in-test (BIT) modes for command and continuous diagnostic monitoring.
  • Multiple output interfaces, including I2C, TTL UART, or SPI-compatible, which gives designers additional flexibility.
  • The external sync pin can accept optional GPS pulse-per-second for faster synchronization signals.
  • Single-supply operation is from 3.25V to 5.5V.
Lou Taddeo Thales

Lou Taddeo, Thales Visionix

“The availability of the Class A and Class B options to NavChip Series 3 are the latest offerings in our rapidly expanding NavChip family of precision,” said Lou Taddeo, director of business development at Thales Visionix. “We have listened to the voice of the customer to maximize their performance requirements while mainlining a low-cost approach compatible with the commercial market. We are also making available expanded operating ranges for acceleration, thus expanding its adoption in many more applications.  Our plan is to continue on our path to providing the highest performance to price solutions to our customers with the introduction of newer additions to the NavChip family in the very near future which will offer a broad range of options at varying performance, functionalities and price points.   Our customers can now buy only what they truly need to achieve optimum systems performance at the lowest possible cost.”