Micro & Nanotechnologies: Safran organizes conference to analyze the future of inertial navigation

On Friday, November 27, Safran organized a high-level scientific conference on "Micro & Nanotechnologies for inertial systems" at its research & technology center, Safran Tech, in Saclay, near Paris. The conference was initiated by the Nano-Micro Technologies Club, a research and industry association, and brought together all major players in inertial systems, including French aerospace research agency Onera and the Atomic and alternative energies commission, CEA. The day-long event was organized around four roundtables: outlook and applications (navigation, weapon systems via the French defense procurement agency DGA, launch vehicles); research (new concepts and environments); electronics (especially compact design); and components (examples of sensors produced).


The Safran Tech research center was not chosen by chance to host this event. Sagem, a Safran company and member of the club, is a world leader in inertial navigation systems and technologies, capitalizing on decades of experience in this field. With each new technological breakthrough, Sagem clearly demonstrated its ability to come up with innovative solutions. Sagem pioneered inertial navigation in France, developing the first mechanical gyros in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1990s, it made a seamless transition to the laser gyro revolution. The company has since diversified into the civil sector, in particular developing and producing a new family of attitude and heading reference systems for maritime applications, BlueNaute, introduced in 2013 and based on the hemispherical resonator gyro, or HRG. In 2014, making further use of the HRG's immense potential, Sagem launched SkyNaute, a range of inertial navigation systems for aircraft. These systems offer unrivalled cost-effectiveness, along with weight savings and improved reliability that mark a step change from previous generation laser gyro solutions.

Today, with its eyes still on the latest disruptive technologies, Sagem plans to leverage the outstanding capabilities of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) to design the upcoming generation of inertial sensors. The sensors now under development, MEMS-based gyros and accelerometers, will in fact transpose the principles applied for many years on Quapason and HRG type vibrating sensors to silicon components. The strategic goal is to produce miniaturized, very-high-performance inertial cores that also meet the demanding expectations of both civil and consumer markets. Via these new sensors, Sagem will leverage its many assets: state-of-the-art production facilities, already used on major civil and military programs; long experience built up through the Quapason and HRG vibrating sensors, and its subsidiary Colibrys, specialized in MEMS technologies. Developments on inertial sensors will also contribute to the strategic partnership between Safran and auto parts giant Valéo to address future requirements in the huge auto market.

Created in 1990, the Nano-Micro Technologies Club, working with French scientific organizations, supports contacts between the worlds of research and industry to foster knowledge sharing and multidisciplinary solutions by creating links between physicists, chemical, mechanical, optical and electronic engineers, and biologists. The Nano-Micro Technologies Club includes both large corporations and small businesses.
To learn more: http://www.clubnano.asso.fr