Ship motion sensor isolation system development and testing for use with low cost IMUs

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Conference Proceeding

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Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


A sensor isolation system was developed to reduce vibrational and noise effects on MEMS IMU sensors. A single degree of freedom model of an isolator was developed and simulated. Then a prototype was constructed for use with a Microstrain 3DM-GX3-25 IMU sensor and experimentally tested on a six DOF motion platform. An order of magnitude noise reduction was observed on the z accelerometer up to seven Hz. The isolator was then deployed on a naval ship along with a DMS TSS-25 IMU used as a truth measurement and a rigid mounted 3DM sensor was used for comparison. Signal quality improvements of the IMU were characterized and engine noise at 20 Hz was reduced by tenfold on x, y, and z accelerometers. A heave estimation algorithm was implemented and several types of filters were evaluated. Lab testing with a six DOF motion platform with pure sinusoidal motion, a fixed frequency four pole bandpass filter provided the least heave error at 12.5% of full scale or 0.008m error. When the experimental sea data was analyzed a fixed three pole highpass filter yielded the most accurate results of the filters tested. A heave period estimator was developed to adjust the filter cutoff frequencies for varying sea conditions. Since the ship motions were small, the errors w.r.t. full scale were rather large at 78% RMS as a worst case and 44% for a best case. In absolute terms when the variable filters and isolator were implemented, the best case peak and RMS errors were 0.015m and 0.050m respectively. The isolator improves the heave accuracy by 200% to 570% when compared with a rigidly mounted 3DM sensor.

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© 2016 IEEE. Publisher’s version of record:

Publication Title

SAS 2016 - Sensors Applications Symposium, Proceedings