Bosch has introduced a new combined inertial sensor for electronic stability programs (ESP). The new SMI650 is the first electronic control unit for ESP featuring a sensor with an integrated vibration damper. The SMI650 is designed for the harsh conditions in the engine compartment; it can withstand operating temperatures of up to +140 °C and, because of the damper, is able to deal with even strong broadband vibrations.
ESP electronic control units with integrated inertial sensors have no need for complicated wiring to connect to external sensors. A biaxial acceleration sensor (ay and az) and a monoaxial yaw sensor (Ox) together give the SMI650 fully fledged ESP senses for monitoring a vehicle’s three axes of motion. The first series-production version of the new combined inertial sensor will be incorporated in Bosch’s current generation 9 ESP electronic control units.
The current trend in automotive sensor technology is to use combination sensors, Bosch notes. This makes sense because integrating various sensor elements in one housing makes their handling, fitting, and electrical connections considerably more straightforward, with a resulting reduction in costs. But a combination sensor such as the SMI650 has to be able to cope with more challenging conditions, since it has to make the transition from the comfort of the passenger compartment to a car’s “torture chamber”: the engine compartment.
In there, temperatures can swing wildly from way below freezing to way above the boiling point of water, while the sensors must avoid misinterpreting the strong vibrations caused by a huge variety of engine types as unstable driving conditions. In order to shield the SMI650’s sensor elements against such sources of interference, the PM28D sensor housing has been fitted with a vibration damper. Its base plate is enveloped in a specially developed silicone material, isolating the sensors from background vibrations. Bosch engineers also provided the tiny acceleration sensor structures with micromechanical dampers.
A microcomputer in the ESP electronic control unit monitors the signals transmitted by the ESP sensors and compares the driver’s steering input to the vehicle’s actual motion 25 times every second. If the values diverge, the ESP reacts rapidly, applying metered braking to generate the counteracting force necessary to ensure the vehicle continues to follow the driver’s steering input to the extent physically possible. Bosch launched ESP in 1995, and the sensors that measure yaw rate and lateral acceleration were first integrated into the electronic control unit in 2008. Up to then, they had been fitted separately within the passenger compartment.