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Honeywell Deploys New Self-Diagnosing Sensors

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【Summary】For use in the aerospace industry, Honeywell has developed Integral Heath Monitoring sensors that can identify an internal failure. This concept could also be applied to the automotive sector.

Mia Bevacqua    Sep 01, 2017 12:17 PM PT
Honeywell Deploys New Self-Diagnosing Sensors

You're driving down the highway and suddenly, one of your warning lights pops on. Everything was fine just a minute ago – is there really a problem with your vehicle, or is one of the sensors out to lunch? 

A new line of sensors from Honeywell could help eliminate such a guessing game. The company's Integral Health Monitoring (IHM) sensors can detect when a sensor has been damaged. Though Honeywell's IHM sensors are used for aerospace proximity, the concept could be applied to automotive applications as well. 

IHM sensor design

Just how do these sensors know they've gone awry? The IHM sensors use an advanced oscillation circuit that is constantly on. This allows the sensor to detect internal failures and produce a corresponding output. SAE states the sensors are configurable, noncontact, hermetically sealed devices. This design helps reduce wear and failure. 


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Benefits of IHM sensors

IHM sensors are particularly useful in aircrafts. This is because pilots are often uncertain if they're dealing with a system issue, or just a bad sensor.

As an example, this could be useful when monitoring aircraft landing gear operation. Honeywell's new IHM sensors can determine if an error message was caused by a failed sensor, or an actual landing gear issue. 

Graham Robinson, President of Honeywell's Sensing and Internet of Things business states, "Our proximity sensors can notify engineers or operators of potential issues with a system before or after the component fails. The sensor fault-detection provides mechanics on the ground with the information they need to perform inspections and repairs without a long and costly troubleshooting process."

In other words, IHM sensors could be just as beneficial to mechanics on the ground as they are to pilots. IHM sensors could drastically reduce a mechanic's diagnostic time. 

These benefits have a cumulative effect: they allow operators to move away from a scheduled maintenance cycle. This increases concentration on day-to-day operations for improved profitability.


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IHM sensors in Automotive Applications

Modern vehicles have many sensors, ECUs and other electronics onboard. This number is sure to increase with the introduction of autonomous vehicles and other advanced technology. Monitoring each sensor individually can be taxing to ECUs. IHM sensors could supervise themselves, at least in part. This would help reduce network complexity. 

Of course, IHM sensors could benefit drivers and auto mechanics in the same way they do pilots and airplane techs. Knowing whether a problem is due to a mechanical failure or simply a bad sensor, could provide peace of mind for drivers and save mechanic's time. 

Honeywell is currently deploying their IHM sensors in aerospace applications. It will be interesting to see if the technology trickles down to the automotive industry. 

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