Sensors, Data Acquisition and Telemetry

With the commencement of the 3rd project, the team aspires to bring about a new level of innovation to rise far above our previous endeavors. The members of the subsystem: Data Acquisition and Telemetry have researched and finally put up an enhanced and upgraded Data Acquisition System that can provide safety, efficiency and intelligence.1

But how does the Data Acquisition system actually provide a car with these features?

Consider the sensory nervous system of the human body.

It senses the changes in the outside environment with the help of our sensory receptors in our sense organs like sight, taste, feel etc. These changes are perceived by the brain and this helps us to interact and understand the environment around us. It also protects us from impending danger such as helping us detect a change in smell in case of a fire or a change in temperature if we touch a hot object. Thus, it keeps us safe by warning our brain about such changes, also helping us adapt and respond to these changes.

The sensory nervous system has a profound effect on our daily activities and makes us work much more efficiently and carefully.

This analogy can help us understand the Data Acquisition system.

The Data Acquisition (DAQ) system works as the sensory nervous system for the car.

It contains sensors that work similar to the sensory receptors of the human body to detect changes in the environment such as change in temperature, current etc.

It checks whether an electrical system is working properly or not. In case it isn’t, the DAQ system is supposed to provide a warning or a partial/complete shutdown of the system in case the values detected in a system cross a particular threshold. It uses sensors to collect data such as critical variables like temperature, speed and current to check if a particular system is working.

For example, a motor has a critical voltage/current value at which it can malfunction. So if the DAQ system senses those values, we can take various actions which include informing the driver about the malfunction and taking necessary action such as stopping electrical contact with the motor to reduce further damage.

Along with that, it makes the car smarter and more responsive. It collects all the said values and creates data visualizations for these values in terms of line graphs, bar graphs etc. to give an idea of how efficiently a system works for different cases: like a rainy day, rough road, sunny day, smooth road etc. Thus the predictions of the car’s performance can be made, for example maximum distance that can be travelled on a single charge, maximum speed in a particular condition, load on the motor/ battery, state of charge and so on.


These visualizations prove crucial when we use them in the future car models which allow us to make the car smarter, efficient and practical due to the fact that the inputs taken are based on practical results as opposed to calculated theoretical values.

With the knowledge of the usage of a DAQ system, we come back to the question at hand, that is, essentially how does a Data Acquisition work?

The system is made up of sensors in the car which provide analog values (voltage/ current/ temperature) to a microcontroller.

This microcontroller converts these analog values into digital signals and sends them to a processing unit.

The processing unit processes the result and checks for warning values. It updates the driver about any problem in the car by displaying the result to the driver in a readable format.5

These changes prove extremely useful in increasing the convenience of the driver and the safety of the car.

The team aims to build a high performing DAQ system which shall oust the past ventures immensely.

We thank element14 and our other sponsors for their encouragement and assistance in this massive undertaking and we are very grateful for their constant support.

And to all our readers, a very happy summer.