Teamwork creates higher quality outcomes that are more efficient and more effective. Teamwork is beneficial not only in the human world but also in the world of sensors. As the era of IoT dawns upon us, it is imperative we work towards unification. Sensor fusion technology is one such technology which drives towards unification.
Sensor Fusion Technology Explained
Sensor Fusion Technology might appear to be a very exotic technology from the outset, but, in fact, it is something which we as humans use it quite naturally. Our brain is the CPU which works on various sensory inputs like- eyes, ears, nose, skin and tongue. The varied information provided to the brain gives a complete picture for it to work upon. It also compensates for lack of complete information to make decisions. For example- one might not see flames under the hood of a car, but the heat from the dashboard and the smell of burning rubber can help the brain to decide that it’s time to evacuate the car.
Sensor fusion technology is based on similar lines- multiple sensors can be used to improve the performance of the system, where performance could be one of the following:-
Better Signal To Noise Ratio
Sensors are made to work in noisy and hostile environments, due to which inputs could be both limited in accuracy and incomplete. Combining sensory powers of multiple sensors it is possible to increase the signal to noise ratio.
Protection Against System Breakdown Due To Sensor Failure
If there is a single sensor and it fails due to some reason, then the whole system will break down. On a contrary, if the system has multiple sensors, it can mitigate the problems.
Multiple sensors with the same reading will provide greater confidence than the reading of a single sensor.
A variety of sensory inputs can provide a holistic view of the situation. If a burglar tries to fool your face recognition system by wearing a mask of the owner of the house, then he may be successful. If however there is a fingerprint recognition system in place too, then he would have a tough time fooling the system.
SENSOR FUSION APPLICATIONS
Smart Home is an exciting prospect as far as sensor fusion technology is concerned. Smart Homes are expected to have a host of different sensors ranging from- temperature sensors and humidity sensors to CCTV cameras and motion detectors. An Amalgamation of all such sensor technologies can result in better security and more comfort. Perhaps an example can make it clearer: you have just returned from the gym. Your smart house senses the outside temperature followed by the temperature inside the house and it also detects that you are sweating. The CCTV cameras outside your house recognized you. Now the smart house has decided whether to turn on the AC or to open the windows and then turn on the fan, depending on your specific preferences and current state.
Smart Transportation is one of the pillars for the development of smart cities. This domain is again prone to the use of numerous and varied sensors. Applications include vehicle tracking, speed detectors, traffic density detector so on and so forth. One exciting application which makes use of sensor fusion technology is- vehicle routing. We all wish to reach our destinations quickly, safely and with the least possible inconvenience. From a scientific point of view, we all know that time to reach our destination depends on speed and distance. But if you take a more pragmatic view, then it also depends on the traffic en route and condition of the roads. Up till now, we have had applications which can take into account both- distance and traffic to suggest routes. But we also need to know whether the road is in good condition. If you are considering long distance journeys then convenience is also a major factor- taking a road which is excellent, but without public conveniences don’t bode well. Also, if certain routes pass through a city or village, then it may be good to know the timings when certain vehicles are allowed inside the city limits. A smart city would have many sensors installed, which can provide such information, thus allowing the vehicle routing system to make proper and a more informed decision.
Though sensor fusion technology is still in its nascence, it surely has a bright future. Once the infrastructure is in place this technology will grow to become the backbone of IoT.