An Investigation of the Effects of Magnetic Variations on Inertial/Magnetic Orientation Sensors
Bachmann, Eric R.
Peterson, Christopher W.
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Rigid body orientation can be estimated in a “sourceless manner” through the use of small three degree of freedom sensor modules containing orthogonally mounted triads of micromachined angular rate sensors, accelerometers, and magnetometers. With proper filter design, drift errors can be eliminated. However, variations in the direction of the local magnetic field reference vector can cause errors in the estimated orientation. The experimental work described in this paper attempts to quantify these errors with an eye toward the development of corrective algorithms. To determine the types and magnitudes of errors that can be expected, three different types of inertiaVmagnetic sensor modules were subjected to controlled changes in the direction and magnitude of the local magnetic field. The amount of magnetic variation caused by several common objects was also measured in order to gain insight into the magnitude of errors that can be expected during operation in a typical environment. The experiments indicate that variations in the direction of the local magnetic field lead to errors only in azimuth estimation when using inertidmagnetic sensor modules. In a common roam environment, errors due to local variations caused by objects such as electrical heaters, CRT monitors, and metal furniture can be expected to be no more than 16 degrees. In most causes these errors can be avoided by maintaining a separation of approximately two feet from the source of interference.
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