The Difference Between Proximity Sensors and Ultrasonic Sensors

What is the difference between proximity sensors and ultrasonic sensors?

After getting inquiries about the difference between proximity sensors and ultrasonic sensors and seeing some misinformation on the internet, we wanted to help clarify by adding our insight into the question.

 

Our company, MaxBotix Inc., manufactures ultrasonic sensors that are currently used as proximity sensors, level sensors, distance sensors, and more.

According to Wikipedia, “A proximity sensor is a sensor able to detect the presence of nearby objects without any physical contact.”

Different targets may require a different type of sensor. 

A proximity sensor will not have to have any interaction directly with an object in order to sense a presence.

 

Common uses of our sensors in a proximity-based application include:

UAV Sensors – Our sensors are designed to be a low-cost solution to implement multiple sensors on a single airframe.  They have been popularly used with Ardupilot and Pixhawk for multicopters and drones.

Kiosks Sensors – One use case, in particular, is one of our sensors used by nuMedia Innovations to detect human presence on an interactive display in a Microsoft Store.

MB8450 Car Detection Sensor – This USB proximity sensor was designed initially to detect the side of a vehicle in a drive-thru.  

Common uses have been:

  • Drive-thru ATMs
  • Kiosks and booths
  • Car park signs
  • Smart parking meters
  • Detecting parked cars 

Robot Sensors – In robots, proximity sensors will give the robots the ability to tell when it is near an object, or when something is near it.  This will allow you to create an autonomous navigation robot with obstacle avoidance.

 

Other applications served by our ultrasonic sensors:

Specifically, an ultrasonic sensor is an instrument that measures the distance to an object using ultrasonic sound waves.

At MaxBotix, our ultrasonic sensors are used primarily in proximity, distance, and level sensing applications.

One of our most popular use cases for distance/level sensing is liquid level detection, also referred to as depth measurement.

We serve tank level measurement applications, diesel fuel gauging, and stream or river level monitoring.

Ultrasonic sensors are a popular choice for certain applications based on their reliability, independence of obstructions like light, smoke, and dust.  

 

Not sure if our sensors would be the right fit for your application?

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