Automotive

The automotive industry is currently an extremely dynamic environment and is undergoing constant change – in addition to e-mobility, innovative assistance features that enable semiautonomous or autonomous driving are playing an increasingly important role. Predicting consumption and wear is also becoming increasingly important and forms the basis for individually scheduled service and inspection intervals. AST’s sensors play an essential role in the implementation of these technology trends. Our current/voltage sensors, for example, are capable of measuring currents in the range of several thousand amperes and are used both in the electric drive systems of the vehicles themselves as well as in the external fast-charging infrastructure. The H2 sensor developed by AST is an essential component of the safety design of vehicles with fuel cell-based drive systems. As a result, our sensors for determining service intervals and monitoring systems relevant to function and safety are increasingly being used in the automotive industry. Specifically, they measure and check the fill level and quality of fluids as well as positions and distances traveled in assemblies. Typical applications include, among others, exhaust aftertreatment with AdBlue®, water injection in engines, windshield wiper systems, and camera systems.  They are also used in brake systems, battery management systems, and a wide variety of vehicle control elements.

H₂ Leakage Sensor

Sensors for the detection of leakage (volume percentage of hydrogen in air) in the H2-supply of FCE-Vehicles

H2 Leakage Sensor

Vehicles with hydrogen drives require a safety concept at the highest level. In particular, the detection of a leak in the hydrogen supply is an essential element in the careful handling of the critical medium hydrogen. The H2 leakage sensor based on the TCS process with its robust measuring principle fulfills this requirement perfectly. It is characterized by its low cross-sensitivity to other gases and its long-term stability. 

Clear Vision Sensors

Sensors for measuring cleaning fluids: fluid level, temperature, and antifreeze

Clear Vision Sensors

Manual and autonomous driving alike are only possible if both the driver and the visual assistance systems have a clear view.

Especially in the case of poor weather conditions, this can only be ensured if there is sufficient fluid in the corresponding cleaning system and if the fluid does not freeze during the journey.

The AST sensors measure the fluid level and the temperature in the fluid tank as well as the antifreeze (ethanol/methanol) concentration. This enables the driver to top up in good time and travel with confidence.

AdBlue®/ SCR-Sensors

Sensors for measuring the fluid level and urea concentration of diesel exhaust fluid

AdBlue ®  Sensors

In diesel vehicles, exhaust gas treatment with AdBlue® reduces nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by up to 90 percent. However, engines equipped with this technology only run if the tank contains sufficient AdBlue® fluid of the required quality.

AST sensors monitor the fluid level in the AdBlue® tank so that the driver can top up the fluid in good time. The sensors also measure the quality of the AdBlue® fluid, which features a mixture of urea (32.5%) and demineralized water.

This ensures compliance with the statutory requirements and prevents any potential improper use.

Water Injection Sensors

Sensors for measuring the fluid level and the degree of purity for water injection systems

Water Injection Sensors

Water injection is a temperature reduction process for internal combustion engines, boosting performance while also reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

In order to prevent damage to the engine, it must be ensured at all times that sufficient demineralized water and no foreign fluids such as gasoline or windshield wiper fluid are present in the water tank.

The AST sensors detect foreign fluids via a conductivity measurement (based on an additional measured variable), as distilled water is non-conductive. Other non-conductive fluids are also safely detected.

Battery Coolent Fluid Sensor

Sensor for property monitoring  of Electrical Vehicle  Battery Coolant Fluid (direct cooling topologies)

Battery CoolAnt Fluid Sensor

Property monitoring of the coolent fluid used for direct cooling of High Performance  EV batteries is an  essential task for the safe operation of the vehicle. Especially the isolation resistance of the fluid is a critical parameter but also the information about the degrading of other parameters will help to define the optimum time  for  maintenance. AST’s BCF-Sensor is able to determine the isolation resistance, the  relative dielectric constant, the density and the viscosity of the fluid. This multi-dimensional approach gives an outstanding performance in terms of accuracy and reliability of the measurement. 

High Current/ High Voltage Sensor

Insulated High Current/ High Voltage Sensor for HV Electrical Powertrain Systems

High Current/ High Voltage Sensor

Measuring currents in the range of thousands of amperes is a challenging task. The AST owned 3D-Hall ASIC permits a fully insulated current measurement without introducing additional resistance (shunt) to the current path. Even at currents above 1000A the power dissipation is very low and the rise of temperature is much lower than in shunt based systems. The AST 3D-Hall technology enables a contactless current measurement without using flux guiding elements made out of ferromagnetic materials which cause hysteresis problems. The Voltage Measurement  is based on an insulated high speed  digital interface, allowing fast sampling rates for the measurement of high dynamic signals.

Battery sensors

Sensors for measuring the current, voltage, temperature, and status of vehicle batteries
Battery sensors

Increasing electrification of vehicles has led to increasing demands being placed on vehicle batteries. Our high-precision contactless battery sensors determine the current, voltage, temperature, and status of starter batteries, providing information on aging effects and precise predictions of the remaining service life and performance capacity.

This helps prevent breakdowns due to drained batteries, with drivers knowing exactly when a battery needs to be replaced.

Our contactless measurement procedure offers a range of benefits: Not only is it permanently available, it can be flawlessly combined with start-stop functions and additional emissions-reducing measures.

Wear sensor

Sensors for measuring the wear level of mechanical assemblies and systems

Wear sensor

Every mechanical assembly sustains a certain amount of wear the longer it is used. This presents itself in a variety of ways, including changes to component geometry and traces of mechanical wear in the form of material deposits on the component surface. These largely undesired changes occur on components such as clutches, transmissions, and brakes.

Wear impairs the function and effectiveness of components, which can lead to serious component damage and subsequent failure. This in turn requires the investment of additional time beyond the scope of the usual service intervals. While this may simply be an annoyance for users of private vehicles, it can cost a significant amount of money for operators of commercial vehicles including trucks and buses. After all, downtime is sure to result in lost earnings. It is therefore necessary to limit wear to easily replaceable components known as wear parts.

As our smart sensors continuously monitor the wear level of safety-related components, and given that we are even able to determine the current temperature on request, we can use corresponding algorithms to issue highly precise predictions of how the operating status will change over time within the assemblies. This therefore enables the individual optimization of service times. For example, our sensors in brake systems can detect whether a brake disc has been warped by thermal overload or whether dirt is limiting the effectiveness of a brake piston. This not only prevents breakdowns and critical driving statuses, it also eliminates the need for regular visual inspection.

Inductive position sensor

Sensors for determining the position of mechanical components

Inductive position sensor

Our position sensors with the inductive measuring principle determine the position of mechanical components without contact and without wear. The so-called target is attached to the moving part of the mechanism and interacts without contact with the stationary sensor system via inductive mechanisms. The sensor and target are each encapsulated against environmental influences, which enables operation in harsh environments.

For example, the position of clutches, dampers and hydraulic cylinders can be measured.

Force- & Torque-Sensor

Sensor for Force- & Torque measurement using the elements of the given structure

Force-&Torque-Sensor

AST‘s inductive Force-& Torque sensors make it possible to use structural components to measure forces and torques. The acting forces and torques lead to minimal deformations of the structure, which can be precisely detected by the sensitive sensors. The measuring principle is based on eddy currents and can detect changes in geometry  in the nanometer range. The sensor electronic can be integrated into the sensor element or can be connected via a cable. Especially in  high temperature environments it makes sense, to keep the electronic box  separated.

Rotary switch

Configuration switch for light and additional vehicle functions
Rotary switch

The rotary light switch is one of the classic control elements featured in vehicles, with actuation always leading to a specific switch status.

The basic version features three settings and is used to control the driving and parking light. However, other switches designed as rotary/pull multi-switches can operate additional light functions such as fog lights, rear fog lights, marker lights, and position lamps on commercial vehicles.

Our sensor based switches are free from wear and suitable even for high loads and challenging environmental influences (e.g. sand, dust, and water). This makes them particularly suitable for deployment in commercial vehicles.

Pushbutton switch

Drive-Neutral-Reverse gear selector switch for automatic transmission
Pushbutton switch

Where vehicle transmissions once required mechanical switching of the gear selector lever via a rod or hoist in order to change gears, the DNR pushbutton switch now largely assumes the role of the shift lever in modern electrically connected automatic transmissions.

Our DNR pushbutton switch can therefore be positioned to provide maximum ergonomic benefits for the driver seated in the vehicle.

DNR pushbutton switches are subject to very strict requirements reflecting their important safety role – and ours comply with the international Standard Automotive Safety Integrity Level C (ASIL-C).

Steering column switch

Key vehicle control element

Steering column switch

Steering column switches are control elements that are attached to the steering column of a vehicle and control a whole host of functions. They can trigger other components through latching or jogging functions via tangential movement (e.g. turn signal), through pulling (e.g. flasher), or through pressing with or without a latch (e.g. high beam). Additional functions include cruise control and interval windshield wipers, plus the retarder and warning lights in commercial vehicles.

Our sensor based switches are free from wear and suitable even for high loads and challenging environmental influences (e.g. sand, dust, and water). This makes them particularly suitable for deployment in commercial vehicles.