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Fail-safe gyro sensors targets high-reliability applications

MUNICH, Germany — Austrian fabless chip vendor SensorDynamics has introduced two angular rate sensors which integrate monitoring circuitry at chip and module level. This double safety enables designers to use them in automotive applications as well as in other application areas where very high levels of resilience and safety are a requirement.

The SD721 and SD751 gyro sensors feature a monitoring function that covers the sensor element as well as all integrated analog and digital function blocks. The monitoring circuit issues an alert if a parameter gets beyond its defined limits with more than 40 parameters being monitored. If the sensor fails it alerts the microcontroller it is connected with via SPI interface as well as via a hardwired connection. In addition, it is possible to monitor the microcontroller by the sensor via a handshake protocol. In case the microcontroller fails, the sensor can switch off the entire module.

These functions are implemented according to the IEC 61508 standard. The entire design meets Safety Integrity Level 2 (SIL-2) on component level and SIL-3 on system level.

Other features such as broad operating range of up to 125 degrees Celsius and shock resistance of up to 1500 g allow the device to be used in automotive applications such as skidding and overturning detection as well as electronic dynamics control. Also, it can be used in GPS navigation systems where it detects directional changes of the vehicle during phases when the satellite signal cannot be received. Beyond automotive applications, the sensors also can be used in industrial applications to control gyro-stabilized platform.

SensorDynamics plans to showcase the devices at the Sensor + Test trade fair in Nuremberg in May.

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