French consortium to advance pedestrian inertial navigation systems

April 14, 2014 // By Peter Clarke
Movea SA, developer of embedded software for sensor fusion and motion processing, is teaming up with MEMS foundry Tronics Microsystems SA and the Leti and List research institutes in Grenoble to develop an inertial measurement unit to allow pedestrian dead reckoning when geo-location by satellite is not available.

The fourth member of the collaboration, and the only one not based in Grenoble, is aerospace and military consultancy EASII IC.

The project plans to produce a wearable device that includes sensors, processor, data fusion algorithms that connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth.

Movea said the team plans to spend $8.5 million over three years on the ASIMUT project to develop a module that makes it possible to measure the location and movements of people inside buildings and in other areas where global positioning by satellite (GPS) is not available. ASIMUT stands for Advanced and Smart Inertial Measurement Unit.

Current dead-reckoning systems, based on inertial sensors for step counting and a pressure sensor for estimating vertical movement, are known to lose accuracy when used for prolonged periods, as errors accumulate.

Applications for the technology include tracking activities such as lone worker safety inside a building or tracking firefighters, police and security workers during an emergency situation. The platform will also enable more commercial applications such as augmented reality displays for use in museums and shopping malls, Movea said.

Movea will provide the software for the module and Tronics will provide the MEMS accelerometers and gyroscopes. EASII IC will build the industrial prototypes of the wearable device. First demonstrations are expected in the middle of 2015.