MEMS Sensors Driving Smart Automotive

By Karen Lightman, Managing Director, MEMS Industry Group

Originally posted on DesignNews

Rapid advances in intelligent automotive systems were showcased during the first European edition of the MEMS Executive Congress. Such systems can tell whether a child is in the street and enable the car to avoid impact. MEMS can ensure that a driver is not inebriated before getting behind the wheel; this is already a reality in France, and would seem to beat the pants off the old-fashioned Breathalyzer.

MEMS can make a car smarter in how it utilizes and conserves energy and power through energy harvesting. It can make a car easier to drive, through sensor-enabled steering that senses the curvature of the road and accounts for torque and speed. (Now that would certainly come in handy on California’s Pacific Coast Highway or the Autobahn.) MEMS make drivers safer and smarter with anti-roller stability, airbags, and tire-pressure monitors. And after experiencing the keynote by Markus Buhlmann, “The MEMS-Enabled Automobile — An Inside Look at Audi’s Vorsprung durch Technik,” MEMS can also make driving a car a hell of a lot of fun.

Automotive panelists at MEMS Executive Congress Europe held in Zurich, Switzerland. From left: Bernhard Schmid of Continental, Marc Osajda of Freescale Semiconductor, Hannu Laatikainen of VTI Technologies, and Richard Dixon of IHS-iSuppli.
 

The MEMS automotive panel at the Congress was moderated by Robert Bosch’s MEMS automotive sensor guru, Jiri Marek. Featured panelists represented top players in the industry: Richard Dixon of IHS iSuppli; Hannu Laatikainen of VTI; Marc Osajda of Freescale Semiconductor; and Bernhard Schmid of Continental Teves. All these guys are well versed in the challenges and opportunities facing the MEMS automotive industry.

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