Battling the Fumes

June 1, 2007 By: Melanie Martella, Sensors Sensors

One of the worst parts of being stuck in traffic (besides the frustration and the need to watch the cars around you lest one of them do something stupid and dangerous) is the smell. The fumes you can smell are bad enough, but the real nasties are, too often, chemicals that have no scent at all, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and a slew of volatile organic compounds.


CHALLENGE: Achieve cleaner air in your car's passenger compartment

BMW's new 2007 X5 sport activity vehicle has a clever way to make sure you breathe cleaner air while you're inside the vehicle by incorporating an air classification module (ACM) from AppliedSensor and Sensata Technologies. The ACM's built-in sensor uses two separate sensing elements to continuously detect diesel and gasoline exhaust fumes. Coupled with a corresponding module in the air intake duct of the vehicle's HVAC system, the ACM can signal when the vehicle's air circulation should occur or cease. For instance, in a traffic jam, the sensor might detect exhaust fumes and automatically switch the vehicle's HVAC system from taking in air from the outside to recirculating the air within, preventing the HVAC system from sucking those fumes right into the passenger compartment. Rather than forcing the driver to manually adjust the airflow, the ACM makes it quick and automatic.

Contact Tom Aiken, AppliedSensor Inc., Warren, NJ; 908-222-1477,

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