3D Robotics


I noticed that Digikey is now selling Honeywell's newest aerospace-grade IMUs, which cost $1,328 each (note that's just for the IMU; it's not a full autopilot). How do the specs of these aerospace IMUs compare to those we use here? Are they worth the extra money? 

In terms of overall approach, the Honeywell IMU seem very similar to modern autopilots such as Pixhawk 2.x and 3.3: they both have MEMS sensors with internal environmental isolation and temperature compensation.

As for the sensors themselves, I'm no expert on specs, so I'll just post the basics here, comparing the Honeywell sensor to the Pixhawk 3


On the face of it, the Invensense and ST sensors in the Pixhawk 3 appear at least as good, if not better. But I imagine that there are some other factors that may be more important, such as gyro drift and vibration filtering. The Honeywell specs in drift are shown here: 


Meanwhile the Invensense ICM-20602 sensor in the Pixhawk 3 gives its drift in different units: ±4mdps/√Hz. I really don't know how to compare those.

Finally, I'm sure that a lot of the performance depends on the software running on the Pixhawk boards, be it PX4 or APM, both of which use GPS to augment the raw IMU data to compensate for drift, along with a lot of other smart filtering. 

So for those IMU experts out there: how do you think these two approaches compare? Are aerospace-grade IMUs worth the extra money?

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • Haha, that's awesome!  It turns out you don't need much to get an drone around the sky, but I don't think most people realize how inaccurate their hobby grade systems can be.

  • I am an Engineer for Honeywell located in Phoenix, AZ.  Today they announced their new HG4930 IMU.  It sells for anywhere from $7k to $13.5k.  You can play hockey with it.  Would you play hockey with a Pixhawk2 Cube? :)  

    HG4930 IMU

    Honeywell HG4930 Inertial Measurement Unit Survives Hockey Hits

    If you're in the market for a high-performance and rugged inertial sensor or navigator, Honeywell's HGuide suite of non-ITAR, commercial inertial sensors and navigators are for you.

    Posted by Honeywell Aerospace on Thursday, February 7, 2019
  • There are so many parameters in IMU calibration that the general drone user may not consider that I'm sure Honeywell does. For instance is the IMU in the Pixhawk calibrated for g sensitive scale factor? That is when the amount of force on the gyro changes the scaling value changes. If anyone has IMU questions or wants to try out a number of high end IMUs or navigation systems let me know
  • What is your impression on the signalquest gyro, they are build for rugged applications and im more interessted in their continous vibration rejection. https://signalquest.com/product/rugged-package/sq-gix/

    GravityGyro™ Inclinometer - SQ-GIX
    The SQ-GIX GravityGyro™ is simply a
  • 100KM

    I managed to get a 3DR Solo with the Pixhawk 2 logging high data rate gyro data.    The GYR1 data is logged at 1000Hz.   It looks like the Pixhawk 2 has a low noise setup and gets full performance out of the MPU6000.   Here is the MPU6000 root PSD from the Solo data:


    So the Pixhawk 2 with the MPU6000 on the separate IMU board gets to the spec 0.005 deg/sec/root(Hz).   Angle Random Walk is then:

    0.005 *60/root(2) = 0.212 deg/root(hr), which is nearly 3 times better than the best HG1120.   :-)

  • Let me know where I can help, have access to lab psu, ossiloscope, apm2 and apm 1.4 (good for testing, learnt allot trying to diagnose baro drift) maybe PM from here?
  • 100KM

    @Anthonie That is the plan.   I was going to compare the Pixhawk1 with the APM2.6. I may be able to compare the Pixhawk2 on the solo too.    I am actually expecting things to be better on the battery.  USB power is pretty noisy compared to a battery, but you are right all the other stuff will contribute.

    I have been trying to master controlling the flash logging process.   Do you know when flash logging is enabled and disabled and when the flash log is written with the fixed wing APM?

  • @DavidJames That's how it's done :) could you do the same test with telemetry connected, servos moving and power from a single lipo? (from my measurements those 2 components generate the most noise)
  • 100KM

    I logged some data from a Pixhawk 1 and found that the rate noise is close to the the 0.005 deg/sec/root(Hz), single sided level in MPU6000 spec.   A little higher than the spec., but I was bumping the desk at bit when I logged the data and it was connected to noisy USB power.     I'll try to do better next time.  :-)


    Here is a link to the flash bin file.


    It turns out that the GYR1 data is 1000Hz data but it is scaled in radians per second.

    Sync | Secure cloud storage that protects your privacy
    Store, share and access your files from everywhere with Sync.
  • On topic: if it comes with an aviation certification (FAA/ICAO or similar) I would be more comfortable sitting as a passenger in a plane without a pilot!

    Ps. I am unaware of any certification on either units, so still prefer a human pilot.
This reply was deleted.