Soon In A Car Near You: Powerless Sensors

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
soon in a car near you powerless sensors

More than 150 little sensors are used in a single luxury car. That means a mess of wires, even if those sensors are talking to the car computer via a CAN bus. Those sensors need power. There’s more than a kilometer of cables for sending power to the sensors alone. Imagine what would happen without those wires: The car would be lighter. Cheaper to produce. And the sensors would go dead. Not if Toyota, Panasonic and 20 other Japanese companies get their way.

Those companies have joined forces to build electronic parts that generate power themselves. How? They convert small amounts of energy from vibrations, body heat and dim light into electricity. The companies want to debut the powerless parts within two to three years, says The Nikkei [sub]

The companies have joined forces under a consortium established by an NTT Data-affiliated lab. They believe one of the most promising potential applications for self-powered electronic parts is automobile sensors.

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  • APaGttH APaGttH on Sep 06, 2010

    I can't see the savings to weight being THAT significant. Having upgraded stereos and added electronics to every car I've owned since 1985 I've found that the wire may be more numerous, but it is far thinner than ever before. I see the savings coming in manufacturing by not having to pull the wiring, and increased profits for dealerships in the replacement of these sensors.

  • Blowfish Blowfish on Sep 06, 2010

    All in all there will be sensors hiding in places where Sun dont shine, the sensor itself may cost $5.00 but changing it will take the whole engine , transmission out! I heard an interesting story, a fellow used to work as the service advisor in a jag/Merc/Volvo dealer. He told me to change the interior heater core of a Vee12 is close to $1600 for a bang up job and not Koshered by the Jaguar bible, and to do a kosher job , with the fee the dealer could afford a real Rabbi to come down to bless the car. U better sit down and have a swig of Chivas Regal for Medicinal purpose. A proper job is

  • Blowfish Blowfish on Sep 06, 2010

    The question is how long will these self power generating sensor last Vs an extra wire to power them up? An extra wire should last forever as long as nothing to cut , chafe her. The way most manufacturer is heading is to force the owner to write the car off in

  • Stingray Stingray on Sep 06, 2010

    That people is also thinking (I guess) in a wireless network. That is worrisome if not properly protected. Hackers could enter the system.