Automotive air quality sensors

My main role at ScioSense is the development of air quality sensors (AQS) for automotive applications. Air quality sensors are mounted in the intake duct of the air conditioning system to detect pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, unburnt hydrocarbons or unpleasant odors from farming, before they enter the cabin. The information from the AQS is forwarded to the electronic control unit (ECU) of the vehicle to independently and optimally control various parameters of the air conditioning system, such as interior temperature, the position of the recirculation flap, or the fan speed.

The figure below illustrates a typical hardware diagram and a schematic representation of how the air quality signal can be used to control the air intake recirculation flap.

(Tille, Eurosensors 2010)

The tasks I typically do in this role include:

  • Feasibility studies on new metal oxide (MOX) materials to improve existing functionalities or add new ones.

  • Creating new ideas, file IP and successfully demonstrate new technologies.

  • Leading regular process reviews with the project team and with external suppliers.

  • Alignment with marketing & automotive customers on requirements.

  • Supervise the design of semiconductor packaging for new sensors and organize the sample builds (mass production)

  • PCB design (Altium)

  • Prototyping using low-cost microcontrollers (Arduino, Raspberry Pi, etc)

  • Hardware design for sensor data logging and characterization

  • Firmware programming (C / C++)

  • Design of experiments for characterizing sensor behavior in the laboratory and in the field

  • Data analysis of laboratory experiments and drive tests (MATLAB / Python)

  • Optimization of sensor operating mode to improve response time, sensitivity, selectivity, low power, etc.

  • Development of a test vehicle with reference analyzers and data logging for multiple AQS.