Multi-wafer hybrid integration developed for rover navigation systems

February 10, 2011:

A multi-national team led by ÅAC Microtec has developed multi-wafer hybrid integration for use in rover navigation systems.

The study was commissioned by the European Space Agency study and was led by ÅAC Microtec AB, Sweden. Systems Engineering & Assessment Ltd in Bristol, UK and the Robotics Innovation Center of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in Bremen, Germany were the other partners.

The team successfully developed a miniaturized MEMS-based inertial measurement unit (IMU) for use in rover navigation systems for planetary or lunar exploration missions. The IMU is based on a three-axis MEMS Gyro and three-axis MEMS accelerometer with a CAN digital bus interface for use in robotic operations, maximizing use of ESA-developed sensors and interfacing.

The project has demonstrated the feasibility of such a unit by deriving requirements from the targeted missions. A proof of concept IMU hardware demonstrator was tested extensively at DFKI on both an Agile Asguard Rover and a robot arm. At the European Space Research and Technology Center, ESTEC, it was presented in the Lunar Robotics Environment on the ESA LRM Rover. 

“In addition to developing an exciting application, the project has been of great value to ÅAC Microtec as it has entailed the study of cold electronics, using components with mission storage qualification between –120 and +70°C. This has enabled us to further enhance our expertise in this area, where we enjoy a world leading position,” says Fredrik Bruhn, Vice President at ÅAC Microtec. 

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