The temperature sensor that helps keep you safe

Collision Avoidance: The Temperature Sensor That Helps Keep You Safe
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 12 December 2023 – Tucked away beneath the wing mirror on the Ford Everest is a tiny little temperature sensor with an enormous role to play in customer safety.

This little piece of equipment is called the outside air temperature (OAT) sensor, and it’s one of the most important sensors in your Everest, said Sandy Fragapane, Ford’s Climate Control Attribute supervisor for ICE Propulsion and Thermal Systems.

“Without the information gathered by the temperature sensor, features like the front and rear parking sensors and the air-conditioning system wouldn’t function properly. It really is that critical,” said Fragapane.

Temperature Check

Placement of the temperature sensor is vital to its proper operation. On Everest, the sensor is hidden underneath the passenger’s side wing mirror on the stalk connecting it to the body of the vehicle.

“Placing the temperature sensor beneath the side mirror means it’s away from hot engine parts, and out of direct sunlight and rain which can all skew the accurate measurement of the ambient temperature affecting the features that rely on it.”

Ford Everest’s temperature sensor is designed to adjust its electrical output based on the ambient temperature. This sensor is connected directly to the vehicle’s powertrain control module (PCM), allowing it to feed its data to the systems that are reliant on an accurate reading of the ambient temperature for proper operation.

Park distance control

Because the speed that sound travels in air varies based on the ambient temperature (faster when it’s warm and slower when it’s cold), the temperature sensor works with the parking system to calculate the real-time distance to an object. The ‘ping’ travel time from your parking sensors can be accurately measured, in the hot or cold, so that your vehicle always knows exactly how far away it is from an object when you’re parking.

“The ultrasonic parking sensors emit a sound wave which can’t be detected by the human ear,” Fragapane said. “The amount of time it takes for that sound wave to hit the object in front of or behind the vehicle and then back to the sensor is used to calculate the distance between the object and the vehicle; the temperature sensor tells the system how hot or cold it is so the distance can be calculated in real time.”

Keeping your cool

When you select auto mode on your vehicle’s climate control system, the fan automatically adjusts cooling or warming the cabin to match the pre-set temperature. Knowing what the temperature is outside helps the system determine how much heating or cooling is required to achieve the desired temperature inside the cabin using the least amount of energy.

“Sure, the outside air temperature sensor tells the driver what the ambient temperature is, but the way the vehicle uses this information goes way beyond that,” Fragapane concluded.