New generation of magnetic position sensors focus on safety-critical automotive applications

November 14, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
ams AG has introduced a new family of magnetic rotary position sensors with advanced safety features for automotive applications requiring ISO26262 compliance.

Highly integrated systems-on-chip, all magnetic rotary position sensors from ams incorporate Hall magnetic sensing elements, an analog front end and digital signal processing to produce accurate and precise angle measurements. The new 60 Series sensors – the AS5161 and AS5261 (with a digital PWM output) and the AS5162 and AS5262 (with analog voltage output) – now also feature best-in-class automotive protection features that enable vehicle manufacturers to achieve ISO26262 compliance in safety-critical applications.

The rigorous ISO26262 standard for automotive functional safety requires vehicle manufacturers to achieve high levels of reliability, to analyze the effects of the failure modes of components and systems, and to take measures to guarantee functional safety in the event of a predictable failure.

The 60 Series sensors enable manufacturers to achieve ISO26262 compliance by offering very high reliability, comprehensive analysis of the effects of direct and indirect dangerous faults, and very low Failure In Time (FIT) rates. Dual stacked dice (single package) versions, which are fully redundant, the AS5261 and AS5262 sensors can be used in applications requiring the highest ASIL D safety grading.

ams has also enabled enhanced self-diagnostic capabilities in this new generation of automotive position sensors. For example, they can detect a failed input voltage, and the broken ground detection feature with pull-down resistor operates even at high temperatures, unlike in competitive products.

With this new generation of sensors, ams has also implemented a number of power-saving features, resulting in leading-edge efficiency. While the 60 Series devices typically draw a 10 mA supply current, many competitive devices draw more than 15 mA.

The 60 Series sensors are expected to be used to sense angular displacement in a wide variety of automotive applications, including the accelerator pedal, brake pedal, chassis ride height monitor, HVAC valve position sensor, and the steering wheel.

The devices are also ideal for use in transmission (2WD/4WD switch, gearshift actuator) and throttle (EGR, tumble flap, throttle position, turbo-charger) applications.