The need for accurate and reliable navigation techniques for micro air vehicles plays an important part in enabling autonomous operation. Traditional navigation systems typically rely on periodic global positioning system updates and provide little benefit when operating indoors or in other similarly shielded environments. Moreover, direct integration of the onboard inertial measurement unit data stream often results in substantial drift errors yielding virtually unusable positional information. This paper presents a new strategy for obtaining an accurate navigation solution for the special case of a micro hopping air vehicle, beginning from some known location and heading, using only one triaxial accelerometer and one triaxial gyroscope. Utilizing the unique dynamics of the hopping vehicle, a piece-wise navigation solution is constructed by selectively integrating the inertial data stream for only those short periods of time while the vehicle is airborne. Interhop data post processing and sensor bias recalibration are also used to further improve estimation accuracy. To assess the performance of the proposed algorithm, a series of tests were conducted in which the estimated vehicle position following a sequence of 10 consecutive hops was compared with measurements from an optical motion-capture system. On average, the final estimated vehicle position was within 0.70 m or just over 6% from its actual location based on a total traveled distance of approximately 11 m.

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