Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Control & Display

Piloting an aerial vehicle remotely is a challenging task. There is no pilot in the craft to monitor its position with respect to the ground. Controlling the cost of the vehicle is important, but the cost of a losing an UAV due to inadequate sensors is much higher.

A sensor package that can quickly and accurately deliver data on vehicle attitude and heading is crucial. A system built using solid-state gyros is favorable when considering cost and reliability.

Watson Industries has several sensor packages that can provide UAV attitude data to the remote pilot. We manufacture several types of Attitude and Heading Reference Systems (AHRS) and Dynamic Measurement Systems (DMS) that can meet your requirements.

Watson Experience

We have produced sensors used for UAV control and display since 1988. Since that time, we have sold several configurations of products to meet our customer’s needs

Applicable Products

Technical Challenges

Adequate space and a difficult magnetic environment are two challenges in the installation of an inertial sensor package for remotely piloting an aerial vehicle. The most compact solution is the Watson AHRS. This inertial sensor includes a magnetometer as its heading reference. These vehicles also have motors, relays, batteries and high current carrying conductors that create highly variable magnetic fields that can induce heading errors. Finding a mounting location that is magnetically clean is key to solving this issue.

We strongly encourage you to read our magnetometer mounting location for more information on finding the best place to install your AHRS. We also provide free software for calibrating the AHRS internal compass after it has been installed to remove any remaining heading errors that may result from its mounting environment.

For applications in a poor magnetic environment, Watson Industries has a line of GPS-heading enabled DMS inertial gyro sensors. All that is needed is a place in the vehicle where the GPS antennas can have a clear line of sight to satellites.


  • Roll, Pitch and Yaw Rate: ±100° /sec
  • X, Y, and Z Acceleration: ±10G
  • Airspeed Input – The possibility of sustained dynamic maneuvers requires airspeed be read into the sensor to allow calculation of and correction for those dynamics. The standard input format is an analog voltage. A digital airspeed signal from GPS or another source is available as a custom option.
  • Magnetically clean installation location
  • Installation digital compass calibration

Typical Options

We are able to accommodate your custom needs. Go to our custom product modifications page for a listing of the most common custom options we support.

Custom options for this application:

  • Digital airspeed input from GPS or other source.