(19)
(11)EP 3 288 278 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
27.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/22

(21)Application number: 16185254.6

(22)Date of filing:  23.08.2016
(51)Int. Cl.: 
H04Q 9/00  (2006.01)

(54)

SENSOR SYSTEM

SENSORSYSTEM

SYSTÈME DE CAPTEUR


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(43)Date of publication of application:
28.02.2018 Bulletin 2018/09

(73)Proprietor: General Electric Technology GmbH
5400 Baden (CH)

(72)Inventors:
  • BRIFF, Pablo
    Stafford, Staffordshire ST16 3AB (GB)
  • VACIRCA, Leandro
    Gonsall, Staffordshire ST20 0DQ (GB)
  • HÄMYNEN, Kimmo
    Stafford, Staffordshire ST17 0FT (GB)

(74)Representative: Freigutpartners IP Law Firm 
Hahnrainweg 4
5400 Baden
5400 Baden (CH)


(56)References cited: : 
US-A- 5 479 421
US-A1- 2016 057 510
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] This invention relates to a sensor system, for use in a high voltage direct current (HVDC) network, and to a method of operating a sensor system, for use in a HVDC network.

    [0002] It is known to use sensors in a HVDC network to measure the properties of the HVDC network.

    [0003] US 2016/057510 A1 discloses a protected transmission of independent sensor signals.

    [0004] While the invention is defined in the independent claims, further aspects of the invention are set forth in the dependent claims, the drawings and the following description.

    [0005] According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a sensor system for use in a high voltage direct current network, the sensor system comprising a plurality of sensor devices, each sensor device configured to obtain a respective sensor measurement, wherein the plurality of sensor devices are configured to generate a serial data unit for transmission to a recipient system, the serial data unit configured to include the plurality of sensor measurements, the serial data unit further configured to include a plurality of validity indicators, each validity indicator configured to provide an individual validity status of a respective one of the plurality of sensor measurements.

    [0006] Each sensor measurement may include a single physical measurement or may include a set of physical measurements arranged serially. For example, a given sensor device may obtain a sensor measurement that includes a single voltage or current, or a sensor measurement that includes a set of several voltages and/or currents arranged serially in a measurement data unit. Namely, each sensor measurement in the serial data unit may correspond to one or more physical measurements.

    [0007] The serial data unit includes a sequence of bits that occurs on a single data line, and may be in the form of a serial data packet or frame. It will be understood that a "bit" is an electrical or optical signal processed by a software and/or hardware module or circuit.

    [0008] The use of a serial data unit enables the transmission of a plurality of sensor measurements from the plurality of sensor devices to the recipient system (such as a HVDC network controller) at low latency to ensure stability of control of the HVDC network and its components (such as a converter). However, the integrity of the serial data unit can be adversely affected by at least one faulty bit arising from bit error, which may be introduced by noise levels.

    [0009] Conventionally a serial data unit includes an error-detecting code, which can be used to detect whether an error is present in the serial data unit. When an error is detected in a serial data unit, the entire serial data unit is discarded, and a new serial data unit has to be transmitted from the plurality of sensor devices to the recipient system. The discarding of the entire original serial data unit may however be unacceptable for HVDC applications. This is because discarding the entire original serial data unit may result in the discarding of useful sensor information, particularly in relation to time-sensitive circumstances such as a fault occurrence.

    [0010] By providing the plurality of validity indicators in the serial data unit, it becomes possible to discern the individual data quality of each sensor measurement stored in the serial data unit in order to enable the retrieval of useful sensor information from a serial data unit that includes at least one error, which in turn may limit or eliminate the need to transmit a new serial data unit. This has the effect of improving the reliability and performance of the sensor system.

    [0011] In contrast, the aforementioned conventional method of detecting an error in the serial data unit does not take into account the individual data quality of each sensor measurement, i.e. the aforementioned conventional method of detecting an error in the serial data unit is incapable of determining which of the sensor measurements is invalid.

    [0012] The invention is not only scalable to any number of sensor devices in the sensor system, but also allows the data error rate (i.e. the number of data errors per unit time) to be controlled independently of the number of sensor devices.

    [0013] In the invention, the sensor system further includes a sensor management unit configured to evaluate each validity indicator to determine whether the corresponding sensor measurement is either valid or invalid.

    [0014] The provision of the sensor management unit allows the evaluation of the individual data quality of each sensor measurement prior to transmission of the sensor measurements to the recipient system. This in turn permits the implementation of a suitable data forwarding strategy to improve the retrieval of useful sensor information from the serial data unit.

    [0015] Optionally the sensor system may further include at least one gateway configured to be in communication with the plurality of sensor devices. The or each gateway may include the sensor management unit, and the or each gateway may be configured to be communicable with the recipient system.

    [0016] The sensor management unit is configured to transmit the serial data unit to the recipient system in response to the sensor management unit determining that none of the plurality of sensor measurements are invalid.

    [0017] The sensor management unit is configured to generate a modified serial data unit based on the serial data unit subsequent to the sensor management unit evaluating each validity indicator, and to transmit the modified serial data unit to the recipient system.

    [0018] The modified serial data unit may be configured in a number of ways to improve the performance of the sensor system.

    [0019] The modified serial data unit is configured to include at least one valid sensor measurement from the serial data unit. Such configuration of the modified serial data unit enables the recipient system to retrieve useful sensor information in the form of the or each valid sensor measurement from the modified serial data unit.

    [0020] The modified serial data unit may be configured to omit the validity indicators from the serial data unit. Such configuration of the sensor management unit enables the reduction of the size of the modified serial data unit, which improves the efficiency of transmitting the modified serial data unit.

    [0021] The sensor management unit is configured to generate the modified serial data unit based on the serial data unit in response to the sensor management unit determining that at least one of the plurality of sensor measurements is invalid. Such configuration of the sensor management unit permits the generation of the modified serial data unit to be responsive to the determination that at least one of the plurality of sensor measurements is invalid, so as to improve the retrieval of useful sensor information from the modified serial data unit.

    [0022] The modified serial data unit may be configured to include an error indicator that identifies the or each invalid sensor measurement. Such configuration of the modified serial data unit allows the recipient system to easily and accurately identify the or each invalid sensor measurement, thus making it more straightforward to retrieve useful sensor information from the modified serial data unit.

    [0023] The sensor management unit may be configured to generate the modified serial data unit by replacing the or each invalid sensor measurement with a or a respective replacement sensor measurement. Such configuration of the sensor management unit increases the amount of useful sensor information that can be retrieved from the modified serial data unit.

    [0024] There are a number of ways of obtaining the or the respective replacement sensor measurement, non-limiting examples of which are described as follows.

    [0025] The sensor management unit may be configured to obtain the or the respective replacement sensor measurement by performing signal processing of at least one of the plurality of sensor measurements.

    [0026] The sensor management unit may be configured to obtain the or the respective replacement sensor measurement by estimating the or the respective replacement sensor measurement.

    [0027] The sensor management unit may be configured to obtain the or the respective replacement sensor measurement by filtering at least one prior sensor measurement obtained at an earlier time. The or each prior sensor measurement may be stored in the corresponding gateway.

    [0028] The sensor management unit may be configured to obtain the or the respective replacement sensor measurement by predicting the or the respective replacement sensor measurement based on a prediction model and at least one prior sensor measurement obtained at an earlier time.

    [0029] The sensor management unit may be configured to obtain the or the respective replacement sensor measurement by deriving the or the respective replacement sensor measurement from a redundant sensor measurement obtained by a corresponding redundant sensor device and/or by application level redundancy. This allows the direct replacement of an invalid sensor measurement with an actual sensor measurement obtained from a redundant sensor device.

    [0030] It will be understood that the term "application level redundancy" in the context of this invention refers to the use of one or more other measurement available in the application (which in this case is the high voltage direct current network) in order to obtain the or each redundant sensor measurement.

    [0031] For example, if a given sensor measurement is linked to one or more other sensor measurements at application level, a redundant version of the given sensor measurement can be obtained by the application level redundancy via the relationship between the given sensor measurement and the or each other sensor measurement at application level. Namely, although the sensor devices can be independent of each other, it is the application that links the sensor measurements together.

    [0032] The sensor management unit may be configured to obtain the or the respective replacement sensor measurement by deriving the or the respective replacement sensor measurement from at least one valid sensor measurement. For example, the sensor management unit may be configured to perform a calculation (e.g. extrapolation, interpolation, etc.) of the or the respective replacement sensor measurement based on one or more valid sensor measurements.

    [0033] The modified serial data unit may be configured to include an error-detecting code, the error-detecting code configured to provide a validity status of the modified serial data unit.

    [0034] The error-detecting code may be in the form of a validity check sequence number, such as a cyclic redundancy check (CRC) or a frame checksum sequence (FCS). The provision of the error-detecting code in the modified serial data allows the recipient system to evaluate the validity of the modified serial data.

    [0035] The modified serial data unit may be configured to include at least one error correction code, the or each error correction code associated with a or a respective invalid sensor measurement, the or each error correction code being configured to be usable to correct an error in the corresponding invalid sensor measurement and/or an error in at least one of the plurality of validity indicators. The provision of the or each error correction code in the modified serial data allows the recipient system to correct the or each invalid sensor measurement and/or at least one of the plurality of validity indicators.

    [0036] According to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of operating a sensor system, wherein the sensor system is for use in a high voltage direct current network, the sensor system comprising a plurality of sensor devices, each sensor device configured to obtain a respective sensor measurement, the method further including the step of generating a serial data unit for transmission to a recipient system, the serial data unit configured to include the plurality of sensor measurements, the serial data unit further configured to include a plurality of validity indicators, each validity indicator configured to provide an individual validity status of a respective one of the plurality of sensor measurements.

    [0037] The features and advantages of the sensor system of the first aspect of the invention and its embodiments apply mutatis mutandis to the method of the second aspect of the invention and its embodiments.

    [0038] The method of the invention includes the step of evaluating each validity indicator to determine whether the corresponding sensor measurement is either valid or invalid.

    [0039] The method of the invention includes the step of transmitting the serial data unit to the recipient system in response to the determination that none of the plurality of sensor measurements are invalid.

    [0040] The method of the invention includes the steps of: generating a modified serial data unit based on the serial data unit subsequent to the evaluation of each validity indicator; and transmitting the modified serial data unit to the recipient system.

    [0041] In the method of the invention, the modified serial data unit is configured to include at least one valid sensor measurement from the serial data unit.

    [0042] In the method of the invention, the modified serial data unit may be configured to omit the validity indicators from the serial data unit.

    [0043] The method of the invention includes the step of generating the modified serial data unit based on the serial data unit in response to the determination that at least one of the plurality of sensor measurements is invalid.

    [0044] In the method of the invention, the modified serial data unit may be configured to include an error indicator that identifies the or each invalid sensor measurement.

    [0045] The method of the invention may include the step of generating the modified serial data unit by replacing the or each invalid sensor measurement with a or a respective replacement sensor measurement.

    [0046] The method of the invention may include the step of obtaining the or the respective replacement sensor measurement by at least one of:

    performing signal processing of at least one of the plurality of sensor measurements;

    estimating the or the respective replacement sensor measurement;
    filtering at least one prior sensor measurement obtained at an earlier time;

    predicting the or the respective replacement sensor measurement based on a prediction model and at least one prior sensor measurement obtained at an earlier time;

    deriving the or the respective replacement sensor measurement from a redundant sensor measurement obtained by a corresponding redundant sensor device and/or by application level redundancy;
    deriving the or the respective replacement sensor measurement from at least one valid sensor measurement.



    [0047] In the method of the invention, the modified serial data unit may be configured to include an error-detecting code, the error-detecting code configured to provide a validity status of the modified serial data unit.

    [0048] In the method of the invention, the modified serial data unit may be configured to include at least one error correction code, the or each error correction code associated with a or a respective invalid sensor measurement, the or each error correction code being configured to be usable to correct an error in the corresponding invalid sensor measurement and/or an error in at least one of the plurality of validity indicators.

    [0049] A preferred embodiment of the invention will now be described, by way of a non-limiting example, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

    Figures 1 to 3 show schematically communications networks with a star topology, a bus topology, and a ring topology respectively;

    Figure 4 shows a conventional serial data frame;

    Figure 5 shows an exemplary serial data frame generated by a sensor system according to an embodiment of the invention; and

    Figure 6 illustrates a flow chart depicting an exemplary data forwarding algorithm implemented by the sensor system of the invention.



    [0050] There is provided a sensor system according to an embodiment of the invention, where the sensor system is used in a HVDC network.

    [0051] The sensor system comprises a plurality of sensor devices and a gateway G. Each sensor device (e.g. current sensor, voltage sensor, etc.) is configured to measure a property of the HVDC network (e.g. current, voltage, etc.). Each sensor device is in communication with the gateway G, which in turn is configured to be in communication in use with a recipient system C, such as a HVDC network controller (e.g. a converter controller).

    [0052] In this manner the plurality of sensor devices, the gateway G and the recipient system C define a communications network. Examples of communications networks incorporating the plurality of sensor devices, the gateway G and the recipient system C are shown in Figures 1 to 3 in which the communications networks have a star topology, a bus topology, and a ring topology respectively.

    [0053] In other embodiments, it is envisaged that the sensor system may include one or more additional gateways. The or each additional gateway may share the same configuration as the gateway G so as to provide redundancy to the sensor system.

    [0054] In use, each of the plurality of sensor devices obtains a respective sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn corresponding to a property of the HVDC network.

    [0055] Each sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn may include a single physical measurement or may include a set of physical measurements arranged serially. For example, a given sensor device may obtain a sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn that includes a single voltage or current, or a sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn that includes a set of several voltages and/or currents arranged serially in a measurement data unit. Namely, each sensor measurement may correspond to one or more physical measurements.

    [0056] When the distance L between the plurality of sensor devices and the gateway G is not considerably greater than the distance d between the gateway G and the recipient system C, it is desirable to arrange the plurality of sensor measurements S1, S2, Sn in a serial data frame in order to enable the transmission of a plurality of sensor measurements S1, S2, Sn from the plurality of sensor devices to the recipient system C at low latency to ensure stability of control of the HVDC network and its components.

    [0057] Figure 4 shows a conventional serial data frame based on a plurality of sensor measurements S1, S2, Sn. In use, the conventional serial data frame is transmitted to the recipient system C via the gateway G.

    [0058] The trailer of the conventional serial data frame includes an error-detecting code in the form of a CRC, which is calculated based on all of the sensor measurements S1, S2, Sn in the conventional serial data frame. The error-detecting code is then evaluated, using a CRC checking algorithm, by the gateway G to determine the validity of the conventional serial data frame. This is ensure the consistency of sensor information provided by the plurality of sensor devices to the recipient system C. The CRC may be replaced by another type of validity check sequence number, such as a FCS.

    [0059] The integrity of the conventional serial data frame can be adversely affected by at least one faulty bit, which results in an erroneous value when the error-detecting code is evaluated by the recipient system C. When an error is found to be present in the conventional serial data frame, the entire conventional serial data frame is discarded by the gateway G on the basis that it contains erroneous sensor information that cannot be delivered to the recipient system C. It would then be necessary to transmit a new conventional serial data frame from the plurality of sensor devices to the recipient system C.

    [0060] Although the above conventional approach might be acceptable for delay-tolerant applications (such as non-real-time computations, digital TV transmission systems, internet communications, email systems, etc.), the discarding of the entire conventional serial data frame may however be unacceptable for HVDC applications. This is because discarding the entire conventional serial data frame may result in the discarding of useful sensor information, particularly in relation to time-sensitive circumstances such as a fault occurrence for which the provision of reliable waveform measurements can be important.

    [0061] Figure 5 shows an exemplary serial data frame generated by the plurality of sensor devices in accordance with the invention. In addition to the plurality of sensor measurements S1, S2, Sn, the serial data frame of the invention further includes a plurality of validity indicators FCS1, FCS2, FCSn, each in the form of a FCS (which may be replaced by another type of validity check sequence number, such as a CRC).

    [0062] Each validity indicator FCS1, FCS2, FCSn is calculated based on a respective one of the plurality of sensor measurements S1, S2, Sn, and in this manner is configured to provide an individual validity status of the corresponding sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn. The serial data frame of the invention includes an error-detecting code, in the form of a CRC, to permit the identification of any errors in the validity indicators FCS1, FCS2, FCSn

    [0063] It will be appreciated that it is optional to include a header and a trailer in the serial data frame of the invention.

    [0064] After the serial data frame of the invention is transmitted from the plurality of sensor devices to the gateway G, a sensor management unit (not shown) of the gateway G evaluates each validity indicator FCS1, FCS2, FCSn by calculating a value based on a given sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn stored in the serial data frame of the invention and comparing the calculated value against the corresponding validity indicator FCS1, FCS2, FCSn. If the calculated value and the corresponding validity indicator FCS1, FCS2, FCSn are the same, then the given sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn stored in the serial data frame of the invention is determined to be valid. Otherwise, if the calculated value and the corresponding validity indicator FCS1, FCS2, FCSn are not the same, then the given sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn stored in the serial data frame of the invention is determined to be invalid.

    [0065] In this manner the provision of the plurality of validity indicators FCS1, FCS2, FCSn in the serial data frame of the invention enables the sensor management unit to discern the individual data quality of each sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn in order to determine whether each sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn is either valid or invalid.

    [0066] In contrast, the aforementioned conventional method of detecting an error in the conventional serial data frame does not take into account the individual data quality of each sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn, i.e. the aforementioned conventional method of detecting an error in the conventional serial data frame is incapable of determining which of the sensor measurements S1, S2, Sn is invalid.

    [0067] The above evaluation of the validity indicators FCS1, FCS2, FCSn of the serial data frame of the invention permits the gateway to implement a suitable data forwarding strategy to improve the retrieval of useful sensor information from the serial data frame.

    [0068] When none of the plurality of sensor measurements S1, S2, Sn stored in the serial data frame of the invention are determined to be invalid, the sensor management unit then transmits the serial data frame of the invention to the recipient system C.

    [0069] Optionally the sensor management unit may generate a modified serial data frame by omitting the validity indicators FCS1, FCS2, FCSn from the serial data frame, and transmit the modified serial data frame to the recipient system C.

    [0070] When at least one sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn stored in the serial data frame of the invention is determined to be invalid, the sensor management unit then generates a modified serial data frame that includes any valid sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn and an error indicator that identifies the or each invalid sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn, before transmitting the modified serial data frame to the recipient system C. Such configuration of the modified serial data frame enables the recipient system C to not only retrieve useful sensor information in the form of the or each valid sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn from the modified serial data frame, but also easily and accurately identify the or each invalid sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn, thus making it more straightforward to retrieve useful sensor information from the modified serial data frame.

    [0071] Optionally the modified serial data frame may be configured to omit the validity indicators FCS1, FCS2, FCSn from the serial data frame, so that the size of the modified serial data frame can be reduced to improve the efficiency of transmitting the modified serial data frame to the recipient system C.

    [0072] To increase the amount of useful sensor information that can be retrieved from the modified serial data frame, the sensor management unit may generate the modified serial data frame by replacing the or each invalid sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn with a or a respective replacement sensor measurement.

    [0073] The or the respective replacement sensor measurement may be obtained by the sensor management unit through signal processing of at least one of the plurality of sensor measurements S1, S2, Sn. It will be understood that the signal processing strategy may be at least partly under the control of the recipient system C.

    [0074] In an example of signal processing of at least one of the plurality of sensor measurements S1, S2, Sn, the sensor management unit may obtain the or the respective replacement sensor measurement using application level redundancy. For example, the sensor management unit may perform an estimated calculation (e.g. extrapolation, interpolation, etc.) of the or the respective replacement sensor measurement based on one or more valid sensor measurements S1, S2, Sn.

    [0075] In another example of signal processing of at least one of the plurality of sensor measurements, the sensor management unit may obtain the or the respective replacement sensor measurement by filtering at least one prior sensor measurement obtained at an earlier time and stored in the gateway.

    [0076] For example, a given sensor measurement, e.g. S1(k), may be missing from the serial data frame due to an error in the frame, where 'k' refers to the time instant. Then, if the or each prior sensor measurement S1(m) for earlier 'm' instants of time is stored in the gateway, the sensor management unit can obtain a filtered sensor measurement S1(k) by filtering the or each prior sensor measurement Si(m). An exemplary filtered signal S1(k) could be given by S1(k) = (1/m) [S1(k-1) + ... + S1(k-m)].

    [0077] In a further example of signal processing of at least one of the plurality of sensor measurements, the sensor management unit may obtain the or the respective replacement sensor measurement by predicting the or the respective replacement sensor measurement based on a prediction model and at least one prior sensor measurement obtained at an earlier time and stored in the gateway.

    [0078] For example, a given sensor measurement, e.g. S1(k), may be missing from the serial data frame due to an error in the frame, where 'k' refers to the time instant. Then, if the or each prior sensor measurement S1(m) for earlier 'm' instants of time is stored in the gateway, the sensor management unit can obtain a predicted sensor measurement S1(k) based on a prediction model and the or each prior sensor measurement Si(m). An exemplary prediction signal S1(k) could be given by S1(k) = PredictionModel(S1(k-1), ... ,S1(k-m)). The prediction model may be or may include a set of mathematical equations that describe the expected evolution of signal S1 as a function of time and is based on the or each prior sensor measurement Si(m).

    [0079] Furthermore the sensor system may include a plurality of redundant sensor devices (not shown), each of which is configured to measure the same property of the HVDC network as a respective one of the plurality of sensor devices. This allows the sensor management unit to obtain the or the respective replacement sensor measurement using sensor redundancy by deriving the or the respective replacement sensor measurement from a redundant sensor measurement obtained by a corresponding redundant sensor device. This allows the direct replacement of an invalid sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn with an actual sensor measurement obtained from a redundant sensor device.

    [0080] Additionally or alternatively, the sensor management unit may obtain the or the respective replacement sensor measurement by deriving the or the respective replacement sensor measurement from a redundant sensor measurement obtained by application level redundancy. In one example, if a given sensor measurement S1 is linked to one or more other sensor measurements S2, Sn at application level via an equation (e.g. S1 = S2 + Sn), a redundant version of the given sensor measurement S1 can be obtained by the application level redundancy via the equation (e.g. S1(redundant) = S2 + Sn). In another example, if the sensor measurements S1, S2, Sn are voltage measurements in a circuit loop, the sensor measurements S1, S2, Sn would be linked via Kirchhoff's voltage law, which can then be used to obtain a redundant version of any one of the sensor measurements S1, S2, Sn.

    [0081] Optionally the sensor management unit may calculate an error-detecting code of the modified serial data frame prior to transmitting the modified serial data to the recipient system C. The error-detecting code may be in the form of a validity check sequence number, such as a cyclic redundancy check (CRC) or a frame checksum sequence (FCS). The provision of the error-detecting code in the modified serial data allows the recipient system C to evaluate the validity of the modified serial data.

    [0082] Further optionally the modified serial data frame may be configured to include at least one error correction code, where the or each error correction code is associated with a or a respective invalid sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn and/or an error in at least one of the plurality of validity indicators FCS1, FCS2, FCSn. The or each error correction code can be used by the recipient system C to correct an error in the corresponding invalid sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn and/or an error in at least one of the plurality of validity indicators FCS1, FCS2, FCSn.

    [0083] The or each error correction code is included in the serial data frame in the form of one or more redundant bits, which do not add further sensor information but instead provide a safeguard to recover lost data if needed.

    [0084] For example, when a given sensor measurement S1 is formed of the following serially-arranged binary data bits: [d1 d2 = 1 0], redundancy bits may be added at each sensor device by using the following expression: r1 = d1, r2 = XOR(d1, d2), r3=XOR(r1,r2), where XOR(.) is the exclusive-or logical operator. The following serially-arranged bits [d1 d2 r1 r2 r3] are then transmitted from each sensor device to the gateway. The sensor management unit checks the validity of the received data by comparing d1 and r1 (which should match in an error-free case) and by computing the received value of d1 with the received value of d2.

    [0085] In this example, and without loss of generality, it is assumed that only one bit can fail at a time. When the following serially-arranged binary data bits are generated as [d1 d2 = 1 0], then the serially-arranged bits transmitted to the gateway would be: [d1 d2 r1 r2 r3] = [1 0 1 1 0]. If, for example, bit d2 is erroneous, the received serial data frame takes the form of [d1 d2 r1 r2 r3] = [1 1 1 1 0]. The sensor management unit can then compute the following validations: d1 = r1 (and hence it can assume that d1 is correct); XOR(d1,d2) = 0, which is different from the received value of r2; XOR(r1,r2) = 0, which is equal to the received value of r3, and from this it can assume no errors have occurred in the redundancy bits. Hence the sensor management unit can infer that d2 is erroneous, and correct the value of d2 by reversing its logical value, hence locally producing the data bits [d1 d2] = [1 0] to match the originally generated data bits. The corrected serial data frame is then transmitted to the recipient system C without the need for retransmitting data from the sensor devices to the gateway.

    [0086] Figure 6 illustrates a flow chart depicting an exemplary data forwarding algorithm implemented at the gateway G of the sensor system of the invention.

    [0087] Upon reception of a serial data frame at the gateway G, the sensor management unit evaluates the error-detecting code of the serial data frame to determine whether there is any error present in the serial data frame.

    [0088] If the evaluation of the error-detecting code determines that there are no errors in the serial data frame, the serial data frame is then forwarded in its entirety to the recipient system C. The validity indicators FCS1, FCS2, FCSn may optionally be omitted from the forwarded serial data frame.

    [0089] If the evaluation of the error-detecting code determines that there is at least one error in the serial data frame, the sensor management unit then individually evaluates each validity indicator FCS1, FCS2, FCSn in order to determine whether the corresponding sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn is valid or invalid.

    [0090] Any valid sensor measurement Sk is stored in a buffer, which is denoted as F[k] in Figure 6, where k = 1, 2, ..., n. Meanwhile the or each invalid sensor measurement is flagged as erroneous, and in the embodiments shown is replaced by a replacement sensor measurement Ŝk, which is then stored in the buffer F[k], where k = 1, 2, ..., n. Ways of obtaining a replacement sensor measurement are detailed elsewhere in this patent specification.

    [0091] Alternatively (not shown in Figure 6), instead of replacing the or each invalid sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn, the or each invalid sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn may be stored in the buffer F[k], and the modified serial data frame is configured to include an error indicator that identifies the or each invalid sensor measurement S1, S2, Sn.

    [0092] After all of the validity indicators FCS1, FCS2, FCSn have been evaluated, the sensor management unit calculates an error-detecting code of the modified serial data frame, and then transmits the modified serial data frame F to the recipient system C.

    [0093] The sensor system of the invention therefore permits the retrieval of useful sensor information from a serial data frame that includes at least one error, which in turn may limit or eliminate the need to transmit a new serial data frame. This has the effect of improving the reliability and performance of the sensor system. In addition the invention is not only scalable to any number of sensor devices in the sensor system, but also allows the frame error rate (i.e. the number of frame errors per unit time) to be controlled independently of the number of sensor devices.

    [0094] It will be appreciated that the serial data frame in the above-described embodiment of the invention may be replaced by another type of serial data unit, such as a serial data packet.


    Claims

    1. A sensor system for use in a high voltage direct current network, the sensor system comprising:

    a plurality of sensor devices, each sensor device configured to obtain a respective sensor measurement (S1, S2, Sn), wherein the plurality of sensor devices are configured to generate a serial data unit for transmission to a recipient system (C), the serial data unit including the plurality of sensor measurements (S1, S2, Sn), the serial data unit further including

    a plurality of validity indicators (FCS1, FCS2, FCSn), each validity indicator (FCS1, FCS2, FCSn) providing

    an individual validity status of a respective one of the plurality of sensor measurements (S1, S2, Sn); characterised in that the sensor system comprises

    a sensor management unit configured:

    to evaluate each validity indicator (FCS1, FCS2, FCSn) to determine whether the corresponding sensor measurement (S1, S2, Sn) is either valid or invalid;

    to generate a modified serial data unit based on the serial data unit subsequent to the sensor management unit evaluating each validity indicator (FCS1, FCS2, FCSn) in response to determining that at least one of the plurality of sensor measurements (S1, S2, Sn) is invalid, wherein the modified serial data unit includes at least one valid sensor measurement (S1, S2, Sn) from the serial data unit; and

    to transmit the modified serial data unit to the recipient system (C);

    and in that the sensor management unit is configured to transmit the serial data unit to the recipient system (C) in response to the sensor management unit determining that none of the plurality of sensor measurements (S1, S2, Sn) are invalid.


     
    2. A sensor system according to claim 1 wherein each sensor measurement includes a single physical measurement or includes a set of physical measurements arranged serially.
     
    3. A sensor system according to claim 1 further including at least one gateway (G) configured to be in communication with the plurality of sensor devices, wherein the or each gateway includes the sensor management unit, and the or each gateway is configured to be communicable with the recipient system (C).
     
    4. A sensor system according to claim 1 wherein the modified serial data unit omits the validity indicators (FCS1, FCS2, FCSn) from the serial data unit.
     
    5. A sensor system according to claim 1 wherein the modified serial data unit includes an error indicator that identifies the or each invalid sensor measurement (S1, S2, Sn).
     
    6. A sensor system according to claim 1 or claim 5 wherein the sensor management unit is configured to generate the modified serial data unit by replacing the or each invalid sensor measurement (S1, S2, Sn) with a or a respective replacement sensor measurement (Ŝk).
     
    7. A sensor system according to claim 6 wherein the sensor management unit is configured to obtain the or the respective replacement sensor measurement (Ŝk) by at least one of:

    performing signal processing of at least one of the plurality of sensor measurements (S1, S2, Sn);

    estimating the or the respective replacement sensor measurement (Ŝk);

    filtering at least one prior sensor measurement obtained at an earlier time;

    predicting the or the respective replacement sensor measurement (Ŝk) based on a prediction model and at least one prior sensor measurement obtained at an earlier time;

    deriving the or the respective replacement sensor measurement (Ŝk) from a redundant sensor measurement obtained by a corresponding redundant sensor device and/or by application level redundancy;

    deriving the or the respective replacement sensor measurement (Ŝk) from at least one valid sensor measurement (S1, S2, Sn).


     
    8. A sensor system according to any one of claims 1 to 7 wherein the modified serial data unit includes an error-detecting code (CRC), the error-detecting code (CRC) providing a validity status of the modified serial data unit.
     
    9. A sensor system according to any one of claims 1 to 8 wherein the modified serial data unit includes at least one error correction code, the or each error correction code associated with a or a respective invalid sensor measurement (S1, S2, Sn), the or each error correction code being usable to correct an error in the corresponding invalid sensor measurement (S1, S2, Sn) and/or an error in at least one of the plurality of validity indicators (FCS1, FCS2, FCSn).
     
    10. A method of operating a sensor system, wherein the sensor system is for use in a high voltage direct current network, the sensor system comprising a plurality of sensor devices and a sensor management unit, each sensor device configured to obtain a respective sensor measurement (S1, S2, Sn), the method further including the step of generating a serial data unit for transmission to a recipient system (C), the serial data unit including the plurality of sensor measurements (S1, S2, Sn), the serial data unit further including a plurality of validity indicators (FCS1, FCS2, FCSn), each validity indicator (FCS1, FCS2, FCSn) providing an individual validity status of a respective one of the plurality of sensor measurements, the method being characterised in that the sensor management unit evaluates each validity indicator (FCS1, FCS2, FCSn) to determine whether the corresponding sensor measurement (S1, S2, Sn) is either valid or invalid, and in that the sensor management unit:

    generates a modified serial data unit based on the serial data unit subsequent to the sensor management unit evaluating each validity indicator (FCS1, FCS2, FCSn) in response to determining that at least one of the plurality of sensor measurements (S1, S2, Sn) is invalid, wherein the modified serial data unit includes at least one valid sensor measurement (S1, S2, Sn) from the serial data unit; and

    transmits the modified serial data unit to the recipient system (C) and in that the sensor management unit transmits the serial data unit to the recipient system (C) in response to the sensor management unit determining that none of the plurality of sensor measurements (S1, S2, Sn) are invalid.


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Sensorsystem zur Verwendung in einem Hochspannungsgleichstromnetz, das Sensorsystem umfassend:

    eine Vielzahl von Sensorvorrichtungen, wobei jede Sensorvorrichtung konfiguriert ist, eine entsprechende Sensormessung (S1, S2, Sn) zu erhalten, wobei die Vielzahl von Sensorvorrichtungen konfiguriert ist, eine serielle Dateneinheit zur Übertragung an ein Empfangssystem (C) zu erzeugen, wobei die serielle Datendateneinheit die Vielzahl von Sensormessungen (S1, S2, Sn) beinhaltet, die serielle Datendateneinheit weiter eine Vielzahl von Gültigkeitsindikatoren (FCS1, FCS2, FCSn) beinhaltet, wobei jeder Gültigkeitsindikator (FCS1, FCS2, FCSn) einen individuellen Gültigkeitsstatus einer entsprechenden der Vielzahl von Sensormessungen (S1, S2, Sn) bereitstellt;

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Sensorsystem umfasst

    eine Sensorverwaltungseinheit, konfiguriert zum:

    Auswerten jedes Gültigkeitsindikators (FCS1, FCS2, FCSn) um zu bestimmen, ob die entsprechende Sensormessung (S1, S2, Sn) gültig oder ungültig ist;

    Erzeugen einer modifizierten seriellen Dateneinheit basierend auf der seriellen Dateneinheit, anschließend an das Auswerten jedes Gültigkeitsindikators (FCS1, FCS2, FCSn) durch die Sensorverwaltungseinheit in Antwort auf ein Bestimmen, dass mindestens eine der Vielzahl von Sensormessungen (S1, S2, Sn) ungültig ist, wobei die modifizierte serielle Dateneinheit mindestens eine gültige Sensormessung (S1, S2, Sn) von der seriellen Dateneinheit beinhaltet; und

    Übertragen der modifizierten seriellen Dateneinheit an das Empfangssystem (C);

    und dass die Sensorverwaltungseinheit konfiguriert ist, die serielle Dateneinheit in Antwort auf ein Bestimmen durch die Sensorverwaltungseinheit, dass keine der Vielzahl von Sensormessungen (S1, S2, Sn) ungültig ist, an das Empfangssystem (C) überträgt.


     
    2. Sensorsystem nach Anspruch 1, wobei jede Sensormessung eine einzelne physikalische Messung beinhaltet oder einen Satz physikalischer Messungen, die in Reihe angeordnet sind, beinhaltet.
     
    3. Sensorsystem nach Anspruch 1, weiter enthaltend mindestens ein Gateway (G), das konfiguriert ist, mit der Vielzahl von Sensorvorrichtungen in Kommunikation zu sein, wobei das oder jedes Gateway die Sensorverwaltungseinheit beinhaltet oder das oder jedes Gateway konfiguriert ist, mit dem Empfangssystem (C) kommunikationsfähig zu sein.
     
    4. Sensorsystem nach Anspruch 1, wobei die modifizierte serielle Dateneinheit die Gültigkeitsindikatoren (FCS1, FCS2, FCSn) aus der seriellen Dateneinheit weglässt.
     
    5. Sensorsystem nach Anspruch 1, wobei die modifizierte serielle Dateneinheit einen Fehlerindikator beinhaltet, der die oder jede ungültige Sensormessung (S1, S2, Sn) identifiziert.
     
    6. Sensorsystem nach Anspruch 1 oder Anspruch 5, wobei die Sensorverwaltungseinheit konfiguriert ist, die modifizierte serielle Dateneinheit durch Ersetzen der oder jeder ungültigen Sensormessung (S1, S2, Sn) mit einer oder einer entsprechenden Ersatzsensormessung (k) zu ersetzen.
     
    7. Sensorsystem nach Anspruch 6, wobei die Sensorverwaltungseinheit konfiguriert ist, die oder die entsprechende Ersatzsensormessung (k) zu erhalten durch mindestens eines von:

    Durchführen einer Signalverarbeitung von mindestens einer der Vielzahl von Sensormessungen (S1, S2, Sn);

    Schätzen der oder der entsprechenden Ersatzsensormessung (k);

    Filtern mindestens einer früheren Sensormessung, die zu einem früheren Zeitpunkt erhalten wurde;

    Vorhersagen der oder der entsprechenden Ersatzsensormessung (k) basierend auf einem Vorhersagemodell und mindestens einer früheren Sensormessung, die zu einem früheren Zeitpunkt erhalten wurde;

    Ableiten der oder der entsprechenden Ersatzsensormessung (k) von einer redundanten Sensormessung, die durch eine entsprechende redundante Sensorvorrichtung und/oder durch Anwendungsebenenredundanz erhalten wird;

    Ableiten der oder der entsprechenden Ersatzsensormessung (k) von mindestens einer gültigen Sensormessung (S1, S2, Sn).


     
    8. Sensorsystem nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7, wobei die modifizierte serielle Dateneinheit einen Fehlerdetektionscode (CRC) beinhaltet, wobei der Fehlerdetektionscode (CRC) einen Gültigkeitsstatus der modifizierten seriellen Dateneinheit bereitstellt.
     
    9. Sensorsystem nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 8, wobei die modifizierte serielle Dateneinheit mindestens einen Fehlerkorrekturcode beinhaltet, wobei der oder jeder Fehlerkorrekturcode mit einer oder einer entsprechenden ungültigen Sensormessung (S1, S2, Sn). verknüpft ist, wobei der oder jeder Fehlerkorrekturcode verwendbar ist, um einen Fehler in der entsprechenden ungültigen Sensormessung (S1, S2, Sn) und/oder einen Fehler in dem mindestens einen der Vielzahl von Gültigkeitsindikatoren (FCS1, FCS2, FCSn) zu korrigieren.
     
    10. Verfahren zum Betreiben eines Sensorsystems, wobei das Sensorsystem zur Verwendung in einem Hochspannungsgleichstromnetz dient, das Sensorsystem umfassend eine Vielzahl von Sensorvorrichtungen und eine Sensorverwaltungseinheit, wobei jede Sensorvorrichtung konfiguriert ist, eine entsprechende Sensormessung (S1, S2, Sn) zu erhalten, wobei das Verfahren weiter den Schritt zum Erzeugen einer seriellen Dateneinheit zur Übertragung an ein Empfangssystem (C) beinhaltet, wobei die serielle Dateneinheit die Vielzahl von Sensormessungen (S1, S2, Sn) beinhaltet, die serielle Datendateneinheit weiter eine Vielzahl von Gültigkeitsindikatoren (FCS1, FCS2, FCSn) beinhaltet, wobei jeder Gültigkeitsindikator (FCS1, FCS2, FCSn) einen individuellen Gültigkeitsstatus einer entsprechenden der Vielzahl von Sensormessungen bereitstellt, wobei das Verfahren dadurch gekennzeichnet ist, dass die Sensorverwaltungseinheit jeden Gültigkeitsindikator (FCS1, FCS2, FCSn) auswertet um zu bestimmen, ob die entsprechende Sensormessung (S1, S2, Sn) gültig oder ungültig ist, und dass die Sensorverwaltungseinheit:

    eine modifizierte serielle Dateneinheit basierend auf der seriellen Dateneinheit, anschließend an das Auswerten jedes Gültigkeitsindikators (FCS1, FCS2, FCSn) durch die Sensorverwaltungseinheit in Antwort auf ein Bestimmen, dass mindestens eine der Vielzahl von Sensormessungen (S1, S2, Sn) ungültig ist, erzeugt, wobei die modifizierte serielle Dateneinheit mindestens eine gültige Sensormessung (S1, S2, Sn) von der seriellen Dateneinheit beinhaltet; und

    die modifizierte serielle Dateneinheit an das Empfangssystem (C) überträgt

    und dass die Sensorverwaltungseinheit die serielle Dateneinheit in Antwort auf ein Bestimmen durch die Sensorverwaltungseinheit, dass keine der Vielzahl von Sensormessungen (S1, S2, Sn) ungültig ist, an das Empfangssystem (C) überträgt.


     


    Revendications

    1. Système de capteur pour une utilisation dans un réseau de courant continu à haute tension, le système de capteur comprenant :
    une pluralité de dispositifs de capteur, chaque dispositif de capteur étant configuré pour obtenir une mesure de capteur respective (S1, S2, Sn), dans lequel la pluralité de dispositifs de capteur sont configurés pour générer une unité de données en série pour une transmission à un système destinataire (C), l'unité de données en série incluant la pluralité de mesures de capteur (S1, S2, Sn), l'unité de données en série incluant en outre une pluralité d'indicateurs de validité (FC51, FCS2, FCSn), chaque indicateur de validité (FC51, FCS2, FCSn) fournissant un statut de validité individuel d'une respective de la pluralité de mesures de capteur (S1, S2, Sn) ; caractérisé en ce que le système de capteur comprend une unité de gestion de capteur configurée pour :

    évaluer chaque indicateur de validité (FC51, FCS2, FCSn) pour déterminer si la mesure de capteur correspondante (S1, S2, Sn) est soit valide soit invalide ;

    générer une unité de données en série modifiée sur la base de l'unité de données en série après que l'unité de gestion de capteur a évalué chaque indicateur de validité (FC51, FCS2, FCSn) en réponse à la détermination qu'au moins une de la pluralité de mesures de capteur (S1, S2, Sn) est invalide, dans lequel l'unité de données en série modifiée inclut au moins une mesure de capteur valide (S1, S2, Sn) de l'unité de données en série ; et

    transmettre l'unité de données en série modifiée au système destinataire (C) ;

    et en ce que l'unité de gestion de capteur est configurée pour transmettre l'unité de données en série au système destinataire (C) en réponse à l'unité de gestion de capteur déterminant qu'aucune de la pluralité de mesures de capteur (S1, S2, Sn) n'est invalide.


     
    2. Système de capteur selon la revendication 1, dans lequel chaque mesure de capteur inclut une seule mesure physique ou inclut un ensemble de mesures physiques agencées en série.
     
    3. Système de capteur selon la revendication 1, incluant en outre au moins une passerelle (G) configurée pour être en communication avec la pluralité de dispositifs de capteur, dans lequel la ou chaque passerelle inclut l'unité de gestion de capteur, et la ou chaque passerelle est configurée pour pouvoir communiquer avec le système destinataire (C).
     
    4. Système de capteur selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'unité de données en série modifiée omet les indicateurs de validité (FC51, FCS2, FCSn) de l'unité de données en série.
     
    5. Système de capteur selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'unité de données en série modifiée inclut un indicateur d'erreur qui identifie la ou chaque mesure de capteur invalide (S1, S2, Sn).
     
    6. Système de capteur selon la revendication 1 ou la revendication 5, dans lequel l'unité de gestion de capteur est configurée pour générer l'unité de données en série modifiée en remplaçant la ou chaque mesure de capteur invalide (S1, S2, Sn) par une mesure de capteur de remplacement ou une mesure de capteur de remplacement respective (Ŝk).
     
    7. Système de capteur selon la revendication 6, dans lequel l'unité de gestion de capteur est configurée pour obtenir la mesure de capteur de remplacement ou la mesure de capteur de remplacement respective (Ŝk) par au moins l'une des étapes consistant à :

    effectuer un traitement de signal d'au moins une de la pluralité de mesures de capteur (S1, S2, Sn) ;

    estimer la mesure de capteur de remplacement et la mesure de capteur de remplacement respective (Ŝk) ;

    filtrer au moins une mesure de capteur préalable obtenue à un moment antérieur ;

    prédire la mesure de capteur de remplacement ou la mesure de capteur de remplacement respective (Ŝk) sur la base d'un modèle de prévision et d'au moins une mesure de capteur préalable obtenue à un moment antérieur ;

    dériver la mesure de capteur de remplacement ou la mesure de capteur de remplacement respective (Ŝk) d'une mesure de capteur superflue obtenue par un dispositif de capteur superflu correspondant et/ou par inutilité de niveau applicatif ;

    dériver la mesure de capteur de remplacement ou la mesure de capteur de remplacement respective (Ŝk) d'au moins une mesure de capteur valide (S1, S2, Sn).


     
    8. Système de capteur selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7, dans lequel l'unité de données en série modifiée inclut un code de détection d'erreur (CRC), le code de détection d'erreur (CRC) fournissant un statut de validité de l'unité de données en série modifiée.
     
    9. Système de capteur selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8, dans lequel l'unité de données en série modifiée inclut au moins un code de correction d'erreur, le ou chaque code de correction d'erreur étant associé à une mesure de capteur invalide ou une mesure de capteur invalide respective (S1, S2, Sn), le ou chaque code de correction d'erreur pouvant être utilisé pour corriger une erreur dans la mesure de capteur invalide correspondante (S1, S2, Sn) et/ou une erreur dans au moins un de la pluralité d'indicateurs de validité (FC51, FCS2, FCSn).
     
    10. Procédé de fonctionnement d'un système de capteur, dans lequel le système de capteur est pour une utilisation dans un réseau de courant continu à haute tension, le système de capteur comprenant une pluralité de dispositifs de capteur et une unité de gestion de capteur, chaque dispositif de capteur étant configuré pour obtenir une mesure de capteur respective (S1, S2, Sn), le procédé incluant en outre l'étape consistant à générer une unité de données en série pour une transmission à un système destinataire (C), l'unité de données en série incluant la pluralité de mesures de capteur (S1, S2, Sn), l'unité de données en série incluant en outre une pluralité d'indicateurs de validité (FC51, FCS2, FCSn), chaque indicateur de validité (FC51, FCS2, FCSn) fournissant un statut de validité individuel d'une respective de la pluralité de mesures de capteur, le procédé étant caractérisé en ce que l'unité de gestion de capteur évalue chaque indicateur de validité (FC51, FCS2, FCSn) pour déterminer si la mesure de capteur correspondante (S1, S2, Sn) est soit valide soit invalide,
    et en ce que l'unité de gestion de capteur :

    génère une unité de données en série modifiée sur la base de l'unité de données en série après que l'unité de gestion de capteur a évalué chaque indicateur de validité (FC51, FCS2, FCSn) en réponse à la détermination qu'au moins une de la pluralité de mesures de capteur (S1, S2, Sn) est invalide, dans lequel l'unité de données en série modifiée inclut au moins une mesure de capteur valide (S1, S2, Sn) de l'unité de données en série ; et

    transmet l'unité de données en série modifiée au système destinataire (C),

    et en ce que l'unité de gestion de capteur transmet l'unité de données en série au système destinataire (C) en réponse à l'unité de gestion de capteur déterminant qu'aucune de la pluralité de mesures de capteur (S1, S2, Sn) n'est invalide.


     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description