Autonomous Vehicles

IMU Kernel and Their Role in Autonomous Vehicles

Purpose: Learn about IMU Kernel and their role in autonomous vehicles
Last Updated: October 2023

In the rapidly expanding realm of autonomous vehicles, precision, accuracy, and reliability of navigational systems are paramount. Inertial Labs, a reputable name in advanced sensor technologies, offers a range of solutions for navigation, orientation, and position. The Kernel products, which represent a part of this array, are tailored to bring cutting-edge capabilities to autonomous vehicles. This article delves deep into the Kernel products and how they contribute to autonomous vehicle operations.

What is IMU Kernel?

The Inertial Labs Kernel product line encompasses a range of Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs), Inertial Navigation Systems (INS), and Attitude and Heading Reference Systems (AHRS). These tools leverage advanced MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) sensor technology, giving them the advantage of being lightweight, energy-efficient, and compact while maintaining high accuracy and reliability.

  • IMUs provide three-dimensional acceleration and angular rate measurements. They serve as the foundation of any advanced inertial navigation system by offering raw data, which, when processed, can give insights into the vehicle’s movement and position.
  • INS are a step ahead, integrating IMU data with external sources such as GPS to provide accurate position, velocity, and orientation estimates. Any autonomous vehicle needs to understand its position in real time.
  • AHRS offers a fused orientation solution, combining accelerometers, gyroscopes, and magnetometers to provide a three-dimensional vehicle orientation, which can be invaluable for applications like camera stabilization.

Why is Kernel Crucial for Autonomous Vehicles?

Autonomous vehicles rely heavily on sensors to perceive their surroundings, make decisions, and navigate safely. Kernel products play a crucial role in this ecosystem for several reasons:

  • High Precision: Autonomous vehicles cannot afford errors in navigation. Even minor inaccuracies can lead to collisions or misjudgments. Kernel products offer the precision required to make autonomous operations safe and reliable.
  • Seamless Integration: One of the biggest challenges in autonomous vehicles is integrating various sensor inputs into a cohesive system. Kernel products are designed to seamlessly integrate with other sensors like LiDAR, cameras, and radar, providing a comprehensive solution.
  • Robustness: Vehicles encounter diverse conditions in real-world scenarios – from temperature fluctuations to vibrations. Kernel products are built to withstand such conditions and offer consistent performance.

Use Cases of Kernel in Autonomous Vehicles

Let’s explore how Kernel products can be employed in various facets of autonomous vehicles:

  • Navigation in GPS-Denied Environments: GPS signals are weak or unavailable in many situations, like tunnels or urban canyons. By leveraging its inertial data, kernel INS can ensure the vehicle navigates accurately.
  • Stabilization: The Kernel AHRS plays a pivotal role for camera systems used in vehicle perception or for stabilizing the vehicle’s movement in challenging terrains.
  • Sensor Fusion: Combining the data from Kernel products with other sensors makes creating a holistic view of the surroundings possible. Vital for obstacle detection, path planning, and decision-making in autonomous vehicles.
  • Backup Navigation System: In cases where primary navigation systems fail, Kernel products can act as a backup, ensuring no navigation interruption.

Expanding on the Capabilities of Inertial Labs IMU Kernel 

While we’ve touched upon the core capabilities of the Kernel products, it’s worth diving deeper into the spectrum of features and functionalities they offer that make them a standout choice in the field of navigation and orientation:

Enhanced Data Output Rate

The Kernel series is designed to deliver high output rates. The data from the sensors can be accessed in almost real-time, an essential feature for autonomous vehicles that require instantaneous feedback to navigate effectively.

  •   Advanced Calibration

Kernel products undergo rigorous calibration processes, ensuring they function optimally across various temperatures and conditions, offering consistent performance even in challenging environments. The factory calibration guarantees that the sensors’ readings remain accurate over time and usage.

  •  Extended Operational Life

Longevity and durability are at the heart of Kernel’s design. Considering autonomous vehicles’ demands and continuous operation cycles, the Kernel series ensures a long operational life, minimizing the need for frequent replacements or maintenance.

  • User-friendly Interface

Inertial Labs understands that ease of use is paramount. Kernel products have user-friendly software interfaces, ensuring seamless integration, data extraction, and configuration. The intuitive design ensures developers can optimize and tailor the system to their needs with minimal hassle.

  • Adaptive Algorithms

The Kernel series has adaptive algorithms that allow the system to ‘learn’ from its environment. For instance, if the autonomous vehicle often navigates in a specific terrain or environment, the Kernel can adapt its algorithms to ensure better performance.

  • Multiple Communication Protocols

Kernel products support multiple communication protocols to ensure compatibility with various systems and platforms. This flexibility ensures that Kernel can easily integrate into the ecosystem irrespective of the onboard systems and architectures.

  • Power Efficiency

For autonomous vehicles, power management is crucial. Kernel products are designed to be energy efficient, ensuring that they deliver optimal performance without being a significant drain on the vehicle’s power resources.

  • Comprehensive Documentation and Support

Inertial Labs provides robust support and comprehensive documentation for the Kernel products, ensuring that users can maximize the potential of these tools and troubleshoot any challenges they might encounter.


The Future: Kernel Products and Evolving Autonomous Technologies


The journey towards fully autonomous vehicles is filled with known and unknown challenges. As the technology evolves, the demands on navigation and positioning systems will only intensify. With its Kernel product line, Inertial Labs is positioned to meet these demands head-on.

We can anticipate further miniaturization of these devices, making them even more suitable for compact vehicle designs. Moreover, as the software and algorithms governing autonomous vehicles grow more sophisticated, the data from Kernel products will be harnessed in even more innovative ways.

The synergy between Kernel products and emerging technologies like Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence will open up possibilities we’ve yet to imagine. It might include predictive navigation, where the system anticipates obstacles or route changes, or even more advanced sensor fusion techniques, which could make vehicles aware of their surroundings in ways indistinguishable from human perception.

Inertial Labs’ IMU Kernel products represent a pinnacle of inertial navigation technology that holds immense promise for the world of autonomous vehicles. As these vehicles continue to evolve, seeking higher levels of autonomy and safety, the role of precise, reliable, and integrated navigation systems like those from Inertial Labs will become even more pronounced. The future is paved with innovation, and Kernel products are undeniably a part of that journey.

For more information:

Anton Barabashov
VP of Business Development
Inertial Labs Inc.

For any additional questions, please email

Website maintenance has been scheduled for Sunday, April 2 from 7 am to 9 pm EDT.
The resource may be unavailable at this time. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience.