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Essentials of Positioning and Location Technology by David Bartlett

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5 Inertial navigation

5.1 Principle of inertial navigation

Inertial navigation is based on Newton’s first law of motion: ‘Every body remains in a state of rest or uniform motion (constant velocity) unless it is acted upon by an external unbalanced force’. This means that in the absence of a non-zero net force, the centre of mass of a body either remains at rest, or moves at a constant speed in a straight line. Inertia is the property of a body that links force with mass and change of velocity; it applies to both linear motion and rotation.

Therefore if we can measure the forces acting on a body it is possible to convert these into a change of motion state using the laws of motion, provided we know the initial conditions – position and velocities. ...

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