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Proceedings Paper

Smart sensor for automotive passive restraint systems
Author(s): Leland Spangler; Christopher J. Kemp
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Paper Abstract

Automotive passive restraint systems continue to take advantage of the benefits of microelectronics to provide more sophisticated occupant safety features. Traditional microelectronic advantages such as miniaturization, system integration, and part count reduction are being used to a greater level. This paper describes a `smart' automotive accelerometer that performs, in a single integrated component, all of the sensing and signal processing functions required to assess vehicle crash severity and generate a timely airbag deployment command if needed. The device improves system performance and reliability while lowering cost, by replacing the several acceleration-sensitive mechanical switches (and the associated wiring) currently used in most automotive passive restraint systems. The accelerometer consists of a capacitive sense element and a CMOS ASIC which contains interface circuitry and a digital deployment decision circuit. Signal filtering, calibration, and vehicle-specific programming are also performed on-chip. The design approach minimizes the effects of temperature and voltage variations and therefore eliminates the need for separate compensation circuits. Performance of the device in the laboratory as well as in vehicle crash tests demonstrates the accelerometer's ability to meet its design objectives.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 May 1996
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 2722, Smart Structures and Materials 1996: Smart Electronics and MEMS, (20 May 1996);
Show Author Affiliations
Leland Spangler, Ford Microelectronics, Inc. (United States)
Christopher J. Kemp, Ford Microelectronics, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2722:
Smart Structures and Materials 1996: Smart Electronics and MEMS
Vijay K. Varadan; Paul J. McWhorter, Editor(s)

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