Automotive electronics


  • Prof. Ramon Pallas-Areny
  • ramon.pallas @
  • http:\\
1. Ultra low-cost interface for analog sensors with standard digital output. Method and circuits to measure high and medium-sensitivity analog sensors by using only an inexpensive microcontroller and some passive components.

• Goal: To reduce acquisition and installation costs for most types of analog sensors used in cars by obviating all analog circuits between the sensor and the microcontroller, and the analog-to-digital converter.

• Tested on resistive and capacitive sensors in the laboratory.

• Applicable to:

1) Single resistive sensors (potentiometers, thermal sensors such as RTDs and thermistors, Light-dependent resistors -LDRs-…);

2) Wheatstone bridge sensors (pressure sensors, magnetic field sensors…);

3) Single capacitive sensors (level sensors, seat occupancy detectors…);

4) Differential capacitive sensors:

5) Voltage generating sensors.

• Possible application to inductive sensors, current-generating sensors and current measurement sensors


2. Oil condition monitoring by temperature coefficient analysis of parameters measured by electrical impedance spectroscopy.

• Goal: To reduce maintenance costs by replacing oil only when degraded instead of relying on time or mileage.

• Tested on lubrication oil used in diesel motors in laboratory engine tests.

• Applicable to lubricants and fluids used in hydraulic power transmission.

• Possible application to the detection of contamination in fuels and other liquids.


3. Robust, low-power, low-cost seat occupancy detection based on the combination of up to three complementary sensing principles that operate from the seat itself.

• Goal: To avoid false occupancy detection of sensors based exclusively on pressure/weight.

• Tested on common chairs and different people.

• Applicable to any seat used in cars or whatever other vehicles.

• Possible use of a single (non-mechanical) sensing method with good accuracy.


4. Vital signs detection from sensors embedded in common items such as steering wheels or seats.

• Goal: To continuously detect the heart rate and the respiratory rate from people that need to be monitored while they perform their drive or ride on a car, or perform ordinary activities elsewhere.

• Tested on common chairs and the Nintendo Wii®.

• Applicable to any seat used in cars or whatever other vehicles.

• Additional parameters such as changes in arterial blood pressure could be obtained.


5. High efficiency MPPT power conditioning circuits for low power solar cells.

• Goal: To keep solar cells working on their point of maximal efficiency in spite of variable irradiation conditions.

• Tested on different low-power photovoltaic cells for wireless sensor nodes.

• Applicable to any autonomous sensor that is not in an always dark room.

• Possible use in sensors placed in hard-to-wire sites in cars.


6. Battery SoH and SoC monitoring.

• Goal: To develop novel battery monitoring methods based on impedance and temperature measurement.

• Work in progress. Patents application submitted.