On the Usage of Low-Cost MEMS Sensors, Strapdown Inertial Navigation and Nonlinear Estimation Techniques in Dynamic Positioning
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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In this article, we suggest that a strapdown inertial navigation system based on microelectromechanical system (MEMS) inertial sensors is a useful addition to a vessel with dynamic positioning (DP). We conduct full-scale experiments with MEMS inertial sensors on board a DP vessel operating off the Norwegian coast. The vessel operates in different scenarios, and the purpose is to showcase how low-cost MEMS sensors may complement or replace existing DP sensor systems. Employing nonlinear observers for estimating attitude, heave, velocity, and position, we go through the benefits and disadvantages, and some caveats, for the sensors and methods used in this article. Two different MEMS units are evaluated, aided by gyrocompasses and position reference systems. We evaluate the attitude, heave, and dead reckoning capabilities obtained with the presented estimators, in relation to relevant class notation, ultimately motivating the inclusion of new sensors and methods for dynamic positioning. The results related to attitude and heave are compared with data from well-proven industry standard vertical reference units while dead reckoning is evaluated with respect to the onboard position reference systems.