University of Texas at Dallas researchers have developed a first-of-its-kind technology to detect and reduce “noise” from electromagnetic interference (EMI) in electric vehicles. Such interference can cause malfunctions, such as providing incorrect navigation or compromising collision-avoidance systems.
Electric vehicles (EVs) contain a large number of electrical components packed into small areas. EMI can block communication between these components in the same way that lots of people talking in a crowded room can make it difficult to hear an individual nearby.
The researchers, working in the Texas Analog Center of Excellence, published a study online Aug. 1 in IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits that demonstrates how the new technology — an intelligent sensor — detects and reduces EMI. The journal invited Du, the paper’s lead author, to submit his work after he presented the research in February at the 2023 IEEE International Conference on Solid-State Circuits, a global forum that highlights advances in solid-state circuits and systems-on-a-chip.
Currently, EV manufacturers install parts that are designed to block EMI. They also test EMI levels to make sure they do not exceed standards, which vary by country. EMI changes continuously, however, and drivers may be unaware if a chip is malfunctioning, Du said.
The new sensor could be incorporated into the electronics of future electric, gas-powered, or hybrid vehicles, which also have many electrical components. It could also be used in other electronics, such as cell phones and laptops.
Electric vehicles are particularly vulnerable to EMI because of the high voltages and the large number and density of electrical components inside the cars, said Dr. Dongsheng Brian Ma, professor of electrical engineering and the Distinguished Chair in Microelectronics in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. Ma is Du’s PhD advisor, as well as the corresponding author of the IEEE article. The team also worked with Dong Yan PhD’21, an analog design engineer at Texas Instruments.
The UT Dallas technology works by sensing conditions such as input voltage and load current that can indicate increased EMI in power circuits. In response, the technology applies on-chip countermeasures to bring EMI back under control. Ma compared the tool to a test that determines indicators of high blood glucose.
In 2022 Du received the IEEE Charitat Award (Young Researcher Award) at the 34th International Symposium on Power Semiconductor Devices and ICs for separate technology to detect aging of integrated circuits brought on by stress or heat. That sensor is the first to be able to test aging inside a computer chip and in its casing. The award is presented to a young researcher who is the first author and presenter of a paper determined to be the best overall among all eligible papers.
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Filed Under: EV, Sensors