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Ralph E. Hopkins, Draper

Inertial Navigation

September 24th (Thursday), 2020
11:30 am – 12:30 pm (EST)


This seminar will present an overview of the inertial navigation process and associated enabling state-of-the art inertial instrument technologies. The discussion will open with the use of accelerometers and gyroscopes to measure inertial forces and angular rates, and the computation process employed to determine position and attitude. A survey of solid state optical and MEMS-based inertial instruments will follow with examples of current industry products. New developments in inertial instrument design will follow with discussion of how advanced microfabrication methods, new solid state optical component developments and cold atom interferometry are being exploited in the next generation of precision gyro and accelerometer designs. This seminar will conclude with a brief discussion on inertial system augmentation and the future direction of advanced inertial technologies.


Ralph Hopkins is a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff and Group Leader in the Positioning Navigation and Timing (PNT) Division at Draper where he is responsible for the design and development of inertial instruments and sensors. Ralph has served as Technical Director of advanced inertial instrument development programs including strategic, navigation and tactical grade gyroscopes and accelerometers. He is an invited speaker for short course tutorials on inertial instruments and inertial technology and has presented internationally for the NATO Science Technology Organization sponsored lecture series and symposia on navigation technology.

Ralph holds a BS and ME in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an ME in Engineering Mechanics from Columbia University, and an MS in Engineering Management from The Gordon Institute of Tufts University.