It is the information age. No system in the world is it commercial, political or technical can function without being fed data. Data can well be called the fodder that keeps these systems running. Apart from the amount of data another factor that is of even greater value is the timeliness of data. The right amount of data fed at the appropriate time facilitates any changes in strategy as may be required.
An extremely important tool in this direction is the advent of telemetry systems. The systems enable gathering of data from a distance. This data helps in the calculated adjustment of strategy and policies.
What are telemetry systems?
The word telemetry is derived from the Greek root words ‘tele’ and ‘metron’ meaning remote and measurement respectively. Telemetry systems enable the gathering of data as information from a remote location. Often the target of a telemetry system is a moving object, like a racing car, an aircraft, etc. The mode of communication is usually through radio or infrared. However, there are modern systems employing GSM and SMS systems.
These networks are present almost everywhere and are cheap, hence making telemetry systems cheaper. There are two way telemetry systems that not only collect data but can also send control signals back to the target. This acts as a way of remotely controlling and making adjustments.
Telemetry systems generally use pulse position modulation (PPM), pulse duration modulation (PDM) or pulse code modulation (PCM) systems. Systems have been perfected through generations of development and applications in some of the toughest areas.
Applications of telemetry systems
Telemetry systems have widespread applications in the most cutting edge environments
Motor Racing: Telemetry is an integral part of modern motor racing. Telemetry systems enable teams to monitor the car’s progress and analyze data from it. This data includes tyre temperatures, engine temperature and condition, electronics, airflow, etc. All this information helps the team on the pit wall to know exactly how fast a car on the track can go and how to make it faster. It can also help the team to change its strategy for the race.
Two-way telemetry enables the team to make changes in the car from the pit wall. For example, if the engine is overheating, the team may decide to cut the revs of the engine. This may limit the power available, but will preserve the engine. In modern racing, a good telemetry is a prerequisite for success.
Space stations: Space stations are almost synonymous with telemetry systems. Huge amounts of information are sent from the space shuttle. It is this information that helps guiding and control of the space shuttle by the earth based station.
Agriculture and Water management: Telemetry systems are gaining applications in agriculture. Weather and soil data are of importance. Also, water management systems require telemetry.