Automotive Engineering - March 2024 - 26

Deriving the maximum
performance and efficiency
from the proliferating
number of vehicle sensors
is driving sensor-fusion
development trends.
Sensor fusion expanding in step with advancing
VEHICLE SOPHISTICATION
An accelerating need to enable automated-driving and efficiency-enhancing
features is driving sensor-fusion innovations.
by Lamar Ricks
W
hen drivers of passenger vehicles change lanes, brake at
stop lights, or accelerate on the highway, they're probably
not thinking about sensors. Sensors monitor, regulate
and alert on changes in fluid and component conditions,
such as tire pressure, fuel and oil levels and engine temperatures.
They also report on the position of motor components, wheel speed
and antilock braking systems as well as monitor internal and external
air temperature, helping to maximize passenger comfort.
The typical non-electric vehicle now is fitted with between 60 and
100 sensors, with 15 to 30 dedicated to managing the engine.
Commercial trucks have up to 400 sensors, with up to 70 allocated
to engine management.
The shift toward ADAS and automated driving is stimulating unprecedented
demand for sensors. Future generations of EVs, particularly
those equipped with autonomous or semi-autonomous functionality,
may have two to three times the number of sensors as their
comparable predecessors. What's more, the emergence of softwaredefined
vehicles (SDVs) is set to further impact market demand, as
they enable a new service delivery model. Instead of hardware determining
the features a vehicle can offer, manufacturers will build basic,
mid-level, and luxury vehicles with pre-integrated sensor-enabled
functionality that can be turned on and off with software, encouraging
standardization across the industry.
But that's not all. The expansion of autonomous capabilities extends
to a variety of vehicle types, regardless of the power-source
technology. Among these, hybrid vehicles, combining both ICE and
electric propulsion and fitted with automated-driving features are
likely to have the most significant sensor content. To support these
industry advancements, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)
are pivoting from domain-based to zonal electrical architectures,
which are homogeneous and bus-based.
26 March 2024
Maximizing efficiency with
sensor fusion
The more sensors a vehicle has, the smarter it can be.
However, sensors take up space and become increasingly
expensive as they offer greater functionality or
higher performance. As a result, the solution for basic
and mid-level vehicles is not always to deploy more
sensors or the best ones - but to ensure they address
the job at hand most effectively. Luxury consumers, on
the other hand, may be willing to pay more for a vehicle
with advanced sensor solutions that deliver a
higher level of safety, comfort and convenience.
The methodology of integrating multiple sensors
into one package or combining the output data of
multiple sensors is referred to as sensor fusion. The
goal of sensor fusion is to eliminate redundant packaging
to minimize system cost or to combine the outputs
of various sensors to achieve insights or decisionmaking
abilities that would not ordinarily be possible
with isolated sensor data.
While homogenous technologies can be easily integrated,
sensors may use different substrates, making it
an engineering challenge to combine them. For example,
sensors on silicon substrates are not easily integrated
with those on silicon-carbide or gallium arsenide
substrates. To address this, component manufacturers
are exploring new ways to develop multifunctional
sensors that deliver added value, optimize the
use of space and reduce costs. As an example, the
market now offers an integrated module that merges
AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING
TE CONNECTIVITY

Automotive Engineering - March 2024

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