Integrated Self sufficient Structurally Integrated Multifunctional Sensors for Autonomous Vehicles
Award last edited on: 5/18/2022

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Amrita Kumar

Company Information

Acellent Technologies Inc

835 Stewart Drive
Sunnyvale, CA 94085
   (408) 745-1188
Location: Single
Congr. District: 17
County: Santa Clara

Phase I

Contract Number: DESC0020714
Start Date: 6/29/2020    Completed: 3/28/2021
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
Acellent Technologies proposes to develop an integrated AUTO-SMART sensor system for vehicles that can provide multifunctional capabilities and make the vehicles self-sufficient. The primary focus will be on composite materials and how multi-functionalities in composites can impact the design of automotive in weight saving and efficiencies. The goal will be to provide “weight saving” through integration of materials with sensors, electronics, batteries, etc. to minimize parts counts, create new designs, new manufacturing processes and enable cost saving. The focus will be on (1) Autonomic Vehicle Systems to design a sensor network that can adjust itself in response to its environment, (2) Adaptive Systems to provide information on the health of the vehicle structure and adapt the structural configuration based on any damage events and (3) Self-sustaining Systems with batteries integrated within the structure to store and release power as needed. The program will be conducted by Acellent with collaborator Stanford University. An innovative sensor suite will be designed, developed and integrated with structural composites during the manufacturing process itself to create a structurally integrated sensor network. A structurally integrated battery developed by Stanford University and licensed exclusively by Acellent will be leveraged for use in power delivery and management. The Multifunctional Energy Storage Composite Battery (MESC) has been demonstrated huge weight saving and design efficiency over conventional vehicle design with composites, therefore, more efficient functionalities could be further built into the vehicle, particularly on the sensing areas. Primary focus will be on the following (1) battery monitoring to further minimize weight of extra redundant batteries, (2) battery monitoring to further improve performance, (3) structural health monitoring for minimizing service and preventing failure and repair which extremely critical for driverless car applications, (4) pedestrian protection and collision detection and monitoring that is critically important. Acellent as the lead will be responsible for the overall program architecture, integration, direction, management and technology transition. Phase I will focus on the design and development of the AUTO- SMART system using an integrated sensor network design for a multifunctional vehicle that can be incorporated during manufacturing itself. Primary areas of development include (1) design of a Multifunctional Energy Storage Composite Battery (MESC) for use in automobiles, (2) SMART Airbag and Crash sensing, (3) Vehicle collision detection, (4) design, customization, and integration of a SMART Controller for the AUTO-SMART sensing system. Demonstration of at least 2 multifunctional capabilities for the vehicle on chosen structures will be conducted. The sensor network that will be developed through this program will provide immense benefits to the composite vehicle industry including; (1) Conceptual leap in creation of self-sufficient autonomous vehicles, (2) Increased safety through real-time detection of internal composite damage, (3) Rapid crash sensing leading to rollover protection and (4) New advanced sensing that can save billions of dollars in life-cycle costs by reducing vehicle inspection and maintenance. Potential applications include electric and autonomous vehicles, unmanned aircraft, submarines etc.

Phase II

Contract Number: DE-SC0020714
Start Date: 8/23/2021    Completed: 8/22/2023
Phase II year
Phase II Amount
The Department of Energy DOE Vehicles Group has identified a need for novel multifunctional composite materials and structures for the automotive industry that have the capability to reduce weight and volume as well as costs of “conventional” structural components by performing engineering functions beyond load carrying. Acellent is developing an integrated AUTOSMART sensor system for the automotive industry. The focus will be on the development of 2 multifunctionalities: Pedestrian Protection System PPSdevelopment of a complete lowcost PPS that is fast to install during automobile manufacturing and satisfies both the time and accuracy requirements for a proposed sensory system for pedestrian protection; Battery monitoring system BMSto optimize battery performance and lifespan, a battery monitoring system BMS will be developed to determine State of Health SOH, State of Charge SOC and End of Life estimation. Phase I focused on identification of two primary multifunctionalities for vehicles – PPS and BMS and the requirements for the systems were developed. Acellent designed the sensor layout for car bumpers and identified potential low cost materials for use in the system. Sensors were manufactured and tested and a prototype PPS demonstrated in the laboratory for use in identification of nonpedestrian vs pedestrian impacts. Acellent also worked with Stanford University to manufacture and test laboratory based batteries and State of Health SOH and State of Charge SOC of the batteries for automotive applications. A test bed for use in battery monitoring was manufactured for continued testing in Phase II. Phase II will partner with Ford Motor Company and Stanford University to address the following 1 Design, development and testing of a complete prototype of the PPS through impact tests on cars, 2 Design, development and testing a complete prototype of the BMS for typical batteries and structurally integrated batteries, 3 Design of the architecture of a unified multifunctional AUTOSMART sensing system for cars and 4 Development of commercialization plans with Ford and other automotive companies. The multifunctional sensing system concepts that were developed and demonstrated through this program will provide immense benefits to the autonomous and electric vehicle industry including; 1 Conceptual leap in creation of selfsufficient autonomous vehicles, 2 Increased safety through realtime detection of impacts, 3 Rapid pedestrian crash sensing protection, 4 Novel battery monitoring systems for EV cars, 5 New advanced sensing that can save billions of dollars in lifecycle costs by reducing the cost of vehicle inspection and maintenance. Potential applications include electric and autonomous vehicles, unmanned aircraft, submarines etc.