Faculty Advisor

Julian L. Center, Jr.

Faculty Advisor

Michael A. Gennert

Faculty Advisor

William R. Michalson


Inertial navigation is a relative navigation technique commonly used by autonomous vehicles to determine their linear velocity, position and orientation in three-dimensional space. The basic premise of inertial navigation is that measurements of acceleration and angular velocity from an inertial measurement unit (IMU) are integrated over time to produce estimates of linear velocity, position and orientation. However, this process is a particularly involved one. The raw inertial data must first be properly analyzed and modeled in order to ensure that any inertial navigation system (INS) that uses the inertial data will produce accurate results. This thesis describes the process of analyzing and modeling raw IMU data, as well as how to use the results of that analysis to design an INS. Two separate INS units are designed using two different micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) IMUs. To test the effectiveness of each INS, each IMU is rigidly mounted to an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) and the vehicle is driven through a known test course. The linear velocity, position and orientation estimates produced by each INS are then compared to the true linear velocity, position and orientation of the UGV over time. Final results from these experiments include quantifications of how well each INS was able to estimate the true linear velocity, position and orientation of the UGV in several different navigation scenarios as well as a direct comparison of the performances of the two separate INS units.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Robotics Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





IMU, Kalman Filter, Error Modeling, Parameter Estimation, Inertial Navigation