Early day automobile engineering was more of cranks, nuts and bolts and probably the only difference between an automobile and the wheel barrow hurling down that slope in the neighborhood was the use of an engine vs using your feet. Vehicle sensors began to emerge in the late 50’s where indicator lights were used to warn of low oil pressure and fluids. The late 70s and 80s saw the emergence of more advanced electronic warning systems, still using indicator or warning lights to inform the driver about possible issues. The current day scenario has almost completely changed with almost 25 and in some cases nearby 30 different types of sensors monitoring the vehicle and some don’t even warn anymore and just do their job.
According to the Phoenix Mazda dealer, today there are lot of car sensors that dominate the modern automotive industry ranging from speed, temperature, air-flow, tire pressure, fuel, voltage, sparking, smoke and a huge array of other sensors, with most of them operating under the hood.
What Sensors Do
In the modern car world, most cars consist of a complex array of electro-mechanical components that talk to one another and give feedback to the cars computer system. The computer then analyzes the inputs from the various components and builds an appropriate response based on advanced intelligence and relays the instructions back to the appropriate parts for action. A report of what’s going on is prepared in human readable form and relayed back to the onboard information systems like blinker lights, audio alarms and/or display system for the driver to view and understand. Some of the responses are even programmable and some automatic, reducing the requirement of human intervention.
One interesting example of a sensor system is the auto start/stop feature in vehicles that’s programmed to work at traffic lights. The sensors detect when a vehicle stops for a certain period like in the case of a traffic light when the vehicle is put in neutral and the brakes are applied and shuts down the engine to save power or fuel. The engine automatically restarts when the brake is released.
Common Types of Sensors
Some of the most common sensors that have been around for some time and now in their most advanced form are parking sensors. Starting out with ultrasonic sensors that used sound waves to detect any obstructions during parking and relayed back that information using audio-visual signals, the current day parking cum parking-assist sensors involve use of tiny cameras that relay a video of what’s behind the vehicle on a dash-mounted display to assisting the driver in parking the vehicle accurately and in proper alignment with the curb or parking lines even in crammed spaces.
Some other common sensors that you would want to keep clean and working are oxygen sensors, catalytic converters, engine misfire systems and exhaust re-circulation systems.
As per the experts of the Phoenix Mazda dealership, some of the most advanced types of sensors found in vehicles are mainly in place to strengthen vehicle, driver and passenger safety and driving assistance. The lane departure warning system, radar based collision avoidance systems, adaptive headlights, airbag systems and blind-spot detection are just a few to name some.