The use of optical speed and distance sensors is a technology that has been around for a number of years now. In fact they were first introduced and used in the vehicle dynamics testing arena as early as 1981. Since that time there has been considerable development and investment in the field, and consequently optical speed and distance sensors are now far more refined and sophisticated. Such is their accuracy and reliability that they are now routinely used throughout the automotive industry and figure heavily in Formula 1 and Moto GP.
The principal use of non-optical speed sensors is distance measurement: they can provide valuable real-time information for all manner of operating states like standstill, braking, high-speed ride navigation and positioning, measuring the slip-free acquisition of vehicle speed, the determination of slip between rail and track wheel, and the acquisition of speed changes with direct reference to the track. Since the introduction of the non-contact speed sensor, technological advances have moved quickly. To keep pace with these advances, other areas of speed and distance measurement have had to adapt too: consequently there have been a number of parallel improvements to dynamic variables like speed, distance, angle and height that have led to significantly-increased levels of accuracy and reliability.
It would be safe to say that non-contact optical speed sensors are now so refined that they are rightly regarded as the industry-standard technology for the measurement of vehicle handling and performance characteristics. In terms of pure accuracy and reliability, they far exceed fifth wheel, radar, GPS and other traditional measurement devices. What make them even more appealing is that non-contact optical sensors are also much easier to set up and much simpler to use. Moreover, because they do not come into contact with the road or track surface and are free from moving parts, they are capable of resisting damage and less likely to be subject to wear and tear even in the most punishing testing applications.
So why are non-contact optical speed sensors the industry-standard distance measurement technology? Well, it’s simply that non-contact optical speed sensors deliver unparalleled accuracy on every standard testing surfaces, even under the most challenging or severe conditions. The optical speed sensors are compact and lightweight, and are very easy to operate. What’s more, the versatility of the mounting equipment means that sensor installation is both quick and easy. Non-contact sensors contain high-quality optical elements, the newest optoelectronic components and state-of-the –art high-performance signal processing based on DSP andFPGA’s. Speed and distance information is updated at 250 Hz to track every highly dynamic manoeuvre. Programmable, standardized signal outputs and interfaces allow direct connection to PCs and virtually all data acquisition systems, making all measured values directly available. Durable technology also guarantees negligible service costs and maintenance requirements.