Navigation Sensors Summary

The global market for navigation sensors is expected to grow rapidly. Major industries using navigation sensors are the aircraft and shipbuilding sector as well as smart phones and tablet PCs.

 

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Summary

The global market for navigation sensors is expected to grow rapidly. Major industries using navigation sensors are the aircraft and shipbuilding sector as well as smart phones and tablet PCs. The automotive sector, too, is continuing to be a major market for navigation sensors. Other markets are stand-still cameras, gadgets and offroad vehicles (agricultural, construction machinery).

Inertial sensors comprise gyroscopes and inertial measuring units (IMUs). Both may serve navigation and stabilization purposes in vehicles, ships and aircraft as well as jitter control in cameras.

Navigation sensors in aircraft encompass inertial reference systems (IRS) and attitude and heading systems (AHRS). Satellite-based navigation systems such as GPS receivers are included, too. Compasses, too, support navigation. EH field sensors for navigation during landing are also of importance.

State-of-the art magnetic compasses for consumer electronics are using highly sensitive magnetic field sensors that measure strength and direction of the earth’s magnetic field. Compass modules in combination with GPS chips in smart phones allow for location-based services. Traditionally two-axis magnetic sensors are sufficient for compassing; more advanced magnetic compasses use three magnetic sensors allowing for tilt compensation.

Automotive inertial sensors: Yaw rate sensors in vehicles measure a vehicle’s angular speed about its vertical axis. They serve electronic stability control purposes. Other angular rate sensors measure attitude rate of change and serve rollover protection purposes. Car navigation systems are GPS systems. They can be realized as stationary or portable devices. Traditionally they do not have a magnetic compass inside. More sophisticated GPS systems have a magnetometer inside that help to safely navigate in tunnels and urban canyons.

Major trends: A trend towards GPS chips with integrated MEMS sensors can be observed, integrating GPS, inertial navigation and/or electronic compass functions on a single chip. This will be especially relevant in sophisticated portable consumer devices, able to navigate and locate safely in dense urban environments.

Conclusion

The global market for navigation sensors was rather unaffected by the recent economic recession during the years 2008-09. With the crisis hitting all major end-user industries, growth in the market was only marginally affected during the period. However as demand surged in 2010, mainly from consumer electronics the strong pre-crisis growth level reemerged for the market.

 

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