Review of Selection Criteria for Sensor and Actuator Configurations Suitable for Internal Combustion Engines accepted manuscript.pdf (528.96 kB)

Review of selection criteria for sensor and actuator configurations suitable for internal combustion engines

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conference contribution
posted on 06.08.2018 by Rhys Comissiong, Thomas Steffen
This literature review considers the problem of finding a suitable configuration of sensors and actuators for the control of an internal combustion engine. It takes a look at the methods, algorithms, processes, metrics, applications, research groups and patents relevant for this topic. Several formal metric have been proposed, but practical use remains limited. Maximal information criteria are theoretically optimal for selecting sensors, but hard to apply to a system as complex and nonlinear as an engine. Thus, we reviewed methods applied to neighboring fields including nonlinear systems and non-minimal phase systems. Furthermore, the closed loop nature of control means that information is not the only consideration, and speed, stability and robustness have to be considered. The optimal use of sensor information also requires the use of models, observers, state estimators or virtual sensors, and practical acceptance of these remains limited. Simple control metrics such as conditioning number are popular, mostly because they need fewer assumptions than closed-loop metrics, which require a full plant, disturbance and goal model. Overall, no clear consensus can be found on the choice of metrics to define optimal control configurations, with physical measures, linear algebra metrics and modern control metrics all being used. Genetic algorithms and multi-criterial optimisation were identified as the most widely used methods for optimal sensor selection, although addressing the dimensionality and complexity of formulating the problem remains a challenge. This review does present a number of different successful approaches for specific applications domains, some of which may be applicable to diesel engines and other automotive applications. For a thorough treatment, non-linear dynamics and uncertainties need to be considered together, which requires sophisticated (non-Gaussian) stochastic models to establish the value of a control architecture.


This work was funded as part of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Embedded Intelligence grant number EP/L014998/1.



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering

Published in

SAE World Congress Experience 2018


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COMISSIONG, R.M. and STEFFEN, T., 2018. Review of selection criteria for sensor and actuator configurations suitable for internal combustion engines. SAE Technical Paper 2018-01-0758.


© SAE International


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This paper was accepted for publication in the SAE Technical Papers and the definitive published version is available at






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