A small, inexpensive and high-precision gyroscope developed at the University of Michigan turned out to be 10 thousand times more accurate than analogs. It can help drones and autonomous cars stay on track without a GPS signal.
“Our gyroscope is 10 thousand times more accurate and only 10 times more expensive than the gyroscopes that are used in mobile phones. If we compare them with other devices, then this gyroscope is a thousand times cheaper than much larger gyroscopes with similar performance”.
Halil Najafi, professor of engineering at the University of Michigan.
The researchers explained that their development is primarily needed for unmanned vehicles that can go astray without a GPS signal. In their backup navigation systems, autonomous cars now use high-performance gyroscopes, which are larger and much more expensive.
This inexpensive and miniature gyroscope has become highly accurate due to the almost symmetrical mechanical resonator. The device uses electrodes placed around the glass resonator to push and pull the glass, which maintains it in working condition.
To make the resonators as perfect as possible, the team began working on clean glass, which is known as quartz silica about a quarter millimeter thick. They used a blowtorch to heat the glass and then shape it into a beam.
Then they added a metal coating to the shell and placed electrodes around it that measure the vibrations in the glass. All this is enclosed in vacuum packaging half a centimeter high, which prevents the rapid damping of vibrations by air.