Magnetic field sensors measure speed in the automotive industry to the benefit of various safety systems. Data in superior quality is obtained by switching to a circular layout, which results in a magnetically closed vortex structure. Hubert Brückl's team at the University for Continuing Education Krems is working with the University of Vienna and industry partner Infineon Technologies Austria AG to develop a new generation of magnetic field sensors. It is this research that the team was nominated for the 2023 Innovation Award of the AMA Association for Sensor and Measurement Technology.

Signal noise, linearity (an indicator showing the deviation from the ideal value), hysteresis (the delay between cause and effect) and dynamic range are key parameters for improving the current generation of sensors in vehicles. The team led by Prof Hubert Brückl, head of the Department of Integrated Sensor Systems, succeeded in further developing magnetic field sensors for speed measurement in all the above areas. As many vehicle systems rely on data on speed, steering wheel position and torque, the new sensors can significantly increase operational safety.

Novel geometry brings qualitative leap forward

The use of an unconventional circular layout enables a new spin topology, being a magnetic closed vortex structure. Using this structure, superior data quality is achieved, as already confirmed by numerous experiments under laboratory conditions. "These improvements represent a milestone in terms of quality and efficiency for ABS systems and speed measurements in cars," says sensor researcher Hubert Brückl. After intensive practical tests by industry partners, this next generation of sensors is already finding its use on the road. Another area of application for the vortex sensor is indirect tire pressure measurement (iTPMS). To date, the market volume for magnetic sensors in the automotive sector is around 930 million euros. Currently, the industrial sector is discussing applying the same measurement principle to linear or rotary encoders. It is very likely that these new sensors will find their way into production automation and robotics.

About the Innovation Award

For 23 years, the AMA Association for Sensor and Measurement has been honoring exceptional new developments in sensor technology and metrology with the AMA Innovation Award, endowed with 10,000 euros. The jury consists of industry experts from universities, research institutions and companies. Particular attention is paid to the level of innovation, the originality of the solution and the market relevance of the research and development work. 

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