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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Draper Offers High Performance MEMS Gyroscope for the Autonomous Vehicle Market

CAMBRIDGE, MA—Long established as a key component within defense applications, navigation technology from Draper is now available to the autonomous vehicle market. The Draper APEX Gyroscope applies the principles of reliability, dependability and performance from aerospace and defense to the consumer market at a fraction of the cost of competing offerings.

Building on decades of expertise delivering navigation solutions, the Draper APEX Gyroscope is ready for integration into autonomous vehicles. Enabling autonomous vehicles to navigate safely in tunnels and cities without GPS, and through other potential sensor failures, are top requirements for automotive manufacturers.

“For decades, Draper has designed gyroscopes to perform in demanding environments for our aerospace and defense customers,” said Sabrina Mansur, technical director for autonomous vehicles at Draper. “The Draper APEX Gyroscope is a highly competitive and cost-efficient variant of our industry-leading navigation technology that has performed with high precision in autonomous systems undersea, on land, in the air and in space. "

Self-driving cars combine hardware and software to control, navigate and drive the vehicle. Inside self-driving cars is a suite of sensors that are constantly talking to each other and their drivers about speed, direction, location, braking status and so forth. For the industry, however, guiding a self-driving car to within centimeters of where it should be, under all conditions, remains a hurdle.

Draper addressed this challenge by developing a MEMS gyroscope that provides centimeter-level localization accuracy. Company engineers designed the gyro to deliver superior signal-to-noise ratio, minimize localization and position errors and correct accumulated drift in the navigation system. In tests the Draper APEX Gyroscope achieved an ARW of 0.01 deg/sqrt (hr) and a BIS of 0.1 deg/hr.

“Until now this level of performance has eluded MEMS-based gyro technology, but that’s no longer the case,” said Eric Balles, director of transport and energy at Draper. “The Draper APEX Gyroscope is built using standard MEMS foundry processes and can be produced at a fraction of competing offerings, including fiber optic gyroscopes."

The company will show the Draper APEX Gyroscope at the Automated Vehicles Symposium 2018, July 9 to 12, in San Francisco. The new offering, which is available to license, adds to Draper’s growing portfolio of autonomous system and self-driving car capabilities. The newest addition to the portfolio includes LiDAR-on-a-Chip—a chip-scale MEMS-based LiDAR that is an affordable and scalable solution with the performance to enable a driverless car to travel safely at highway speeds.

Self-driving cars can be designed to navigate safely without GPS with the help of the new Draper APEX Gyroscope. (Photo credit: Shutterstock.)
Capabilities Used
Autonomous Systems

Draper combines mission planning, PN&T, situational awareness, and novel GN&C designs to develop and deploy autonomous platforms for ground, air, sea and undersea needs. These systems range in complexity from human-in-the-loop to systems that operate without any human intervention. The design of these systems generally involves decomposing the mission needs into sets of scenarios that result in trade studies that lead to an optimized solution with key performance requirements.  Draper continues to advance the field of autonomy through research in the areas of mission planning, sensing and perception, mobility, learning, real-time performance evaluation and human trust in autonomous systems.


Draper has designed and developed microelectronic components and systems going back to the mid-1980s. Our integrated, ultra-high density (iUHD) modules of heterogeneous components feature system functionality in the smallest form factor possible through integration of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology with Draper-developed custom packaging and interconnect technology. Draper continues to pioneer custom Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS), Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) and custom radio frequency components for both commercial (microfluidic platforms organ assist, drug development, etc.) and government (miniaturized data collection, new sensors, Micro-sats, etc.) applications.  Draper features a complete in-house iUHD and MEMS fabrication capability and has existing relationships with many other MEMS and microelectronics fabrication facilities. 

Image & Data Analytics

Draper combines specific domain expertise and knowledge of how to apply the latest analytics techniques to extract meaningful information from raw data to better understand complex, dynamic processes. Our system design approach encompasses effective organization and processing of large data sets, automated analysis using algorithms and exploitation of results. To facilitate user interaction with these processed data sets, Draper applies advanced techniques to automate understanding and correlation of patterns in the data. Draper’s expertise encompasses machine learning (including deep learning), information fusion from diverse and heterogeneous data sources, optimized coupling of data acquisition and analysis and novel methods for analysis of imagery and video data.

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