Auto Electronics

Preh adds multifunction sensor, driver control system

Preh has introduced a multifunction sensor and a programmable driver control system.

The sensor combines three functions – rain detection, windshield fogging protection and automatic headlight activation – in a package designed for installation in the base plate of a vehicle’s’ rearview mirror or under the rearview mirror cover.

Nick Lontscharitsch, senior vice president of sales, said the sensor offers a solution to rain-sensing malfunction problems such as “dry wiping.” The sensor uses a capacitance measuring technology in lieu of optical measuring. “Dry wiping can be caused by light reflections from the headlights of approaching cars,” he said, “but capacitance measurements are unaffected by ambient light influences.

The windshield fogging protection feature also uses capacitive measuring. The headlight activation function uses optical sensing. Lontscharitsch said the sensing technology has been improved to address delays that can occur when a vehicle enters a tunnel.

Preh’s freely programmable button (FPB) system encompasses 16 control buttons and six main function buttons that together can control as many as 96 different functions in a vehicle cockpit, thus reducing the overall number of buttons needed.

Lontscharitsch noted that many cars provide dashboard switches for functions that are seldom used. Central control systems eliminate switches but can be complex, he said. FPBs have the potential to reduce the number of switches needed while maintaining the operating simplicity of switches.

FPB button surfaces remain black until the car is started, after which main function button icons are illuminated. When a function is selected, the control button array displays icons that can be used to control or modify that function. If a phone function button is pressed, for example, the control button array displays a numeric keypad along with symbols for “talk,” “hang-up,” “redial,” and address book operation.

The FPB system is based on a projection technology that uses LEDs, a fiber dye, and an LCD fore each button. Function icons can be displayed in various colors on the button surface.

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