The Main Applications of Sensors in Automotive Electronic Control Systems

The application of automotive electronic control systems is becoming increasingly widespread, with each electronic control unit consisting of sensors, electronic control units (ECUs), and actuators. These systems utilize sensors to monitor the operating conditions of various vehicle assemblies and transmit relevant information to the electronic control unit. The electronic control unit then analyzes, processes, and makes decisions based on this information, sending commands to the actuators to optimize the operation of the relevant assemblies. Automotive sensors are important sensing electronic devices in vehicle components, and with the increasing sophistication of automotive configurations, the development of automotive sensors has become more advanced. The primary function of sensors is to convert non-electrical signals into electrical signals or to convert information about physical quantities, electrical quantities, and chemical quantities into signals that the electronic control unit (ECU) can understand.

  1. Electronic Fuel Injection

Electronic fuel injection systems use a large number of sensors to ensure that the engine achieves the optimal air-fuel ratio under various operating conditions. Within the normal temperature and speed range, the ECU calculates the basic fuel injection quantity based on signals from the airflow sensor detecting the engine’s intake air volume and the speed signal detected by the engine speed sensor. It then adjusts the fuel supply based on signals from the intake temperature sensor, engine temperature sensor, engine speed sensor, throttle position sensor detecting throttle opening, and the air-fuel ratio signal provided by the oxygen sensor, ensuring that the engine has the optimal fuel injection quantity under various operating conditions to improve engine power and economy.

  1. Electronic Ignition System

During engine operation, the ECU determines the engine’s operating conditions and controls the basic ignition advance angle based on signals provided by sensors such as the airflow sensor and engine speed sensor. It adjusts the ignition timing based on signals from the engine temperature sensor, throttle position sensor, oxygen sensor, and knock sensor, using a closed-loop control system to ensure that the ignition advance angle remains optimal, thereby ensuring that the engine achieves maximum output power and torque, reduces fuel consumption, purifies exhaust emissions, and improves economy.

  1. Electronic Automatic Transmission

Electronic automatic transmissions use sensors such as the throttle position sensor and vehicle speed sensor to ensure that the vehicle is in the optimal gear during operation, improving shift quality and driving stability. During control, electronic automatic transmissions use multiple speed sensors for shift time control; use signals from the throttle position sensor to control gear shifting and torque converter lockup; and use an automatic transmission oil temperature sensor to detect the transmission temperature signal, used for shift and oil pressure control and clutch lockup control.

  1. Electric Power Steering

In electric power steering systems, the ECU primarily receives signals from the vehicle speed sensor. In hydraulic power steering systems, the ECU controls the supply of hydraulic oil to provide steering assistance. In electronic control power steering systems, the ECU also combines input signals from the torque sensor to determine the magnitude and direction of the steering assist torque, using electromagnetic clutches and reduction mechanisms to apply the assist torque to the steering mechanism.

  1. Electronic Suspension

Electronic suspension systems adjust vehicle body height, suspension tilt stiffness, shock absorber damping characteristics, etc., based on different road conditions. They utilize information gathering devices such as vehicle speed sensors, body height sensors, steering wheel angle sensors, and throttle position sensors to collect information about the vehicle’s driving speed and road conditions. The ECU processes the data and issues instructions to adjust the vehicle’s body height, suspension tilt stiffness, shock absorber damping characteristics, etc., improving driving stability and passenger comfort.


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