Sensors and information processing

Safran designs and manufactures sensors that offer constantly improving capabilities in areas such as real-time engine health monitoring, high-precision baggage scanning, and virtually instantaneous biometric identification. The aim is to develop autonomous systems that can be used at a day-to-day level.

Rapid information gathering and analysis

Sensors are used to rapidly gather a variety of information for processing. Many different technologies are deployed across a wide range of applications. We leverage synergies between our different business sectors to develop increasingly high-performance sensors for a wide range of applications, from analysis of biometric data to health monitoring of airplane and helicopter engines.

The rise of the micro-sensor

New information gathering and processing technologies will become firmly established over the next ten years as volume manufacturing processes are developed. The revolution in sensor technology could well rival the emergence of the micro-processor.

The key to this challenge is miniaturization: we are already working on the development of reasonably priced silicon MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) components, which measure just a few millimeters, and can be used for high-precision measurement of minute movements. MEMS components look set to emerge as a key differentiating technology in sophisticated applications such as geolocation of people and mobile devices.

MEMS micro-sensor
A MEMS micro-sensor


The checkpoint of the future

Safran is working on the development of integrated systems that combine different technologies and applications, and offer potential for widespread use. Our MorphoPass™ airport security system, for example, currently in development, will combine biometric identification and baggage scanning capability, ensuring smooth passenger flows and delivering significant time savings. Another major innovation recently launched by Safran is MorphoWave™, a contactless fingerprint reading solution that captures the user's four fingerprints from a single wave of the hand in less than a second. This new biometric technology is particularly suited to a range of applications such as border control at airports and secure access to high-value sites. The contactless identification technology circumvents potential hygiene issues, as well as avoiding the direct contact that could be a problem in certain cultures.

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The MorphoWave™ system

Sensors: making life better

Continuous improvements in sensor performance are driving the emergence of innovative solutions that will enable the Group to make a real difference to customers and individuals at a day-to-day level.

  • Baggage scanning : Safran is developing the XDi™ system, based on X-ray diffraction (XRD) screening technology, for scanning aircraft passengers' carry-on bags. XDi™ offers detection capabilities that will speed up the scanning process, potentially allowing current restrictions on carry-on liquids to be lifted.
  • Aircraft equipment health monitoring : installing sensors in key onboard components such as engines and landing gear will allow preventive monitoring of equipment condition, and more effective scheduling of future maintenance.
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