How to choose the best Xsens inertial measurement unit

This blog will introduce the Xsens MTi product portfolio and will help you choose the right MTi product for your application.

The Xsens MTi portfolio ranges from inertial measurement units (IMU) to fully integrated GNSS-aided inertial navigation systems with RTK.

All Xsens MTi products contain a MEMS-based 3d inertial sensor assembly consisting of three-axis gyroscopes, three-axis accelerometers, and three-axis magnetometers. In addition, several modules are equipped with a barometer and GNSS receiver.

Subjects overview in this blog:

Xsens MTi product portfolio

MTi series line-up

Our MTi modules are divided into series and functionality. This table gives a full overview of our portfolio.mti-portfolio-table1

To better understand this overview, we will explain both the series and the functionalities.

Xsens MTi series overview

The Xsens product portfolio is divided into series representing different accuracy, size, and weight levels.

MTi 1-series:
The MTi 1-series is a low-cost module in a surface mount form factor, ideal for applications in which size, weight and power consumption matter.

MTi 600-series:
The MTi 600-series is the latest and most complete series featuring the most advanced MTi-680G with internal GNSS/INS and RTK for centimeter accuracy. The series also includes a rugged/robust version (indicated with an 'R') featuring IP68 protection against environmental influences.

MTi 100-series:
The MTi 100-series offers our highest level of inertial sensor performance with improved vibration-rejecting gyroscopes.

All MTi's have a powerful processor core enabling the MTI to process measurements with extremely low latencies and produce several outputs.

Xsens MTi Product Selector and Recommendation tool

We have developed two easy tools to choose the right Xsens MTi:

Product Selector
With our Product Selector Tool, you can go straight to our MTi Products Overview and explore or compare the solutions you are interested in.

Recommendation Tool
Answer just three questions, and we will recommend you the right Xsens MTi product for your application via our Recommendation Tool.

Xsens MTi functionality overview

Within each series we identify the inertial measurement unit (IMU) with the number 1, the vertical reference unit (VRU) with the number 2, the attitude and heading reference system (AHRS) with the number 3, the GNSS/INS module which includes or accepts GNSS receiver input with the number 7, and finally the RTK-GNSS/INS version with an 8.

In order to clarify the differences between the module types we will use this figure:

The inertial measurement unit or IMU is the most basic module type delivering calibrated 3D rate-of-turn, linear acceleration, and magnetic field measurements. Additionally, the 100-series and the 600-series contain a barometer for measuring atmospheric pressure. The measurement data can be directly processed within your own application.

An overview of the Xsens MTi IMU's can be found here.

The vertical reference unit or VRU uses the measurements to compute 3D orientation, for example, in terms of roll, pitch, and yaw. The roll and pitch angles are referenced using gravity, whereas the unreferenced yaw is Initialized to zero degrees when the MTi is powered on.
Because of the Xsens sensor fusion algorithm, these orientation estimates are of much higher quality than when simply integrating rate of turn measurements. Using the roll and pitch estimates the VRU can also compute free acceleration, that is 3D acceleration with the effects of gravity removed.

An overview of the Xsens MTi VRU's can be found here.

In addition to gyroscope readings, the attitude heading reference system or AHRS uses the magnetometer readings as an absolute reference to Earth's magnetic field to produce a true North referenced yaw.

An overview of the Xsens MTi AHRS's can be found here.

In addition to all AHRS functions the GNSS aided inertial navigation system or GNSS/INS module also offers 3d position and 3d velocity based on its (internal or external) GNSS receiver and barometer. The GNSS measurements strongly improve the accuracy of heading estimates during motion.

An overview of the Xsens MTi GNSS/INS's can be found here.

To finalize we have GNSS/INS products that support Real-Time Kinematics (RTK). RTK makes the position estimates of the GNSS receiver more accurate by feeding in correction messages from a nearby base station. By using RTK, you can improve your positional data from meter-level accuracy to centimeter-level accuracy.

An overview of the Xsens MTi RTK GNSS/INS's can be found here.

What data are you looking for?

In the table below, we show a comparison of the output parameters of each functionality. To find out which MTi products best suit your application, use this table to select candidates based on the outputs you require.

To make this even easier, we have developed a Recommendation Tool. By selecting the output and interface you need, an MTi product comes rolling out. Try out our recommendation tool here.outputv2 Or try the recommendation tool.

What specifications are you looking for?

After you selected the output data you want to compare the technical specifications between the modules. All the series share many output parameters, still, technical details such as accuracy, stability and output data rates vary across the MTi product range.

This table summarizes the most notable differences between the series.specsv2

What interface do I need?

Now you have chosen the MTi that best fits your application, there are still additional options to select.
One of them is interfacing, we have multiple interfaces available:interfacev2

Available Development Kits

We recommend using the development kits to get started with the Xsens MTi products. Our kits allow you to easily test and evaluate applications via various interfaces, including USB.

We have development kits available for:


Form factor options

Additional to the standard 1/100/600 series form factor, we have other form factors available that could better suit the application.

MTi 100-series
This series is also available as OEM version without the casing.

MTi 600-series
The 610/620/630 are also available in a rugged version (named the MTi-610R, MTi-620R and MTi-630R).

Where can I buy Xsens MTi sensors?

Online shop
Visit our online shop to view separately sold accessories such as additional cables and antenna.

Resellers and online catalogs
You can also purchase MTi products via any of our resellers in or near your country or through an online catalog. You can find an overview here.