Frontiers in Robotics and AI (Aug 2023)

Effects of repetitive low-acceleration impacts on attitude estimation with micro-electromechanical inertial measurement units

  • Federico Allione,
  • Federico Allione,
  • Juan D. Gamba,
  • Antonios E. Gkikakis,
  • Roy Featherstone,
  • Darwin Caldwell

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10


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Inertial Measurement Units are present in several applications in aerospace, unmanned vehicle navigation, legged robots, and human motion tracking systems, due to their ability to estimate a body’s acceleration, orientation and angular rate. In contrast to rovers and drones, legged locomotion involves repeated impacts between the feet and the ground, and rapid locomotion (e.g., running) involves alternating stance and flight phases, resulting in substantial oscillations in vertical acceleration. The aim of this research is to investigate the effects of periodic low-acceleration impacts (4 g, 8 g and 16 g), which imitate the vertical motion of a running robot, on the attitude estimation of multiple Micro-Electromechanical Systems IMUs. The results reveal the presence of a significant drift in the attitude estimation of the sensors, which can provide important information during the design process of a robot (sensor selection), or during the control phase (e.g., the system will know that after a series of impacts the attitude estimations will be inaccurate).