Detection of Presence and Posture of Vehicle Occupants Using a Capacitance Sensing Mat
Capacitance sensing is the technology that detects the presence of nearby objects by measuring the change in capacitance. A change in capacitance is triggered either by a change in dielectric constant, area of overlap or distance of separation between the electrodes of the capacitor. It is a technology that finds wide use in applications such as touch screens, proximity sensing etc. Drawing motivation from such applications, this paper investigates how capacitive sensing can be employed to detect the presence and posture of occupants inside vehicles. Compared to existing solutions, the proposed approach is low-cost, easy to deploy and highly efficient. The sensing system consists of a capacitance-sensing mat that is embedded with copper foils and an associated sensing circuitry. Inside the mat the foils are arranged in rows and columns to form several touch-nodes across the surface of the mat.