Long Range Ultrasonic Sensor

Key Takeaways

  • MaxBotix® Inc., limits its maximum sensing range to 16.5 meters (54.1 feet)
  • MaxSonar® sensors offer reliable people detection out to ~8 meters (~26 feet)
  • Targets must be perpendicular or able to reflect sound back to the sensor for long range detection
  • MaxBotix® Inc., presses the limits by pursuing new technologies

Long Range Ultrasonic Sensor: Up To Sixteen Meters

MaxSonar® ultrasonic sensors are used in a variety of applications. Many customers have successfully used our sensors at ranges up to 16 meters. While not every sensor we produce will have a sensing range out to 16 meters, several of our product lines do contain long range sensors with 16 meter ranging capabilities. Even though a sensor provides 16 meter ranging, there are some limitations that will disqualify our long range sensors for use in some applications.

MaxSonar® sensors utilize ultrasonic sound waves to create the sound burst. The ultrasound waves dissipate as they flow through the air. If they do not return to the sensor, then the sensor is unable to calculate the distance to the target.

long range sensing

Target detection beyond a distance of 10 meters requires that the ultrasound waves return with enough amplitude for the sensor to correctly process the sound data. Typically, only large flat targets that are perfectly aligned to the sensor can produce such a reflection. This is possible; however, this is not practical in all applications so good sense should be used to evaluate your application.

Additionally, the angle of incidence or the angle at which the sound waves hit the target will also affect long range detection. If the target object is not completely perpendicular to the sensor, the sound waves can miss the sensor on the bounce back from the target. The further back the sensor is placed from the target, the more precisely perpendicular the sensor must be to the target. Because long range sensing requires such a high degree of precision in the mounting of the sensor, we have capped our measuring range at 16 meters for our longest-ranging ultrasonic sensors.

Long Range People Detection

long range people detection

One common request is for long range people detection. We recommend two main sensors for this task: the MB7363 HRXL‑MaxSonar®‑WRLS and MB1260 XL‑MaxSonar®‑EZL0. When reviewing the MB7363 beam pattern a person falls between graphs A and B which offers approximately 5.4 meters (18 feet) to reliably detect a person inside of the beam pattern.

beam pattern

For greater detection, our MB7383-800 (extended Horn) amplifies the sensing abilities of the MB7363 for greater sensitivity and accuracy which helps to slightly extend the sensing range when detecting people to 8 meters (26 feet). The MB1260 shows a wide beam pattern with a distance range of approximately 4.8 meters (16 feet).

Level Measurement with Long Range Ultrasonic Sensors

When designing systems that require precise and consistent level measurement, it’s crucial to utilize sensors that offer both accuracy and a long operational range. This is where long range ultrasonic sensors shine. Monitoring liquid or solid levels in large industrial tanks, open-air reservoirs, or even agricultural silos is made easy with ultrasonic sensors.

Precision is a key feature of long-range ultrasonic sensors, maintaining consistent accuracy across varying distances. However, the sensors’ performance is highly dependent on accurate mounting, as they can be sensitive to alignment errors. As explained previously, the range is capped at 16 meters to ensure a high degree of precision in measurements.

Shop your Long Range Ultrasonic Sensor at Maxbotix

MaxBotix® Inc., continues to press the limits of our sensor technology by continually pursuing technological advances to provide reliable long range sensing beyond 16 meters. We are working R&D on technology that may work to 25 meters.

We welcome customer feedback and questions on our long range sensors. If you have any questions or need any help with sensor selection, please email our support team at techsupport@maxbotix.com. We are happy to help!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I increase the range of my ultrasonic sensor?

You can try to use an ultrasonic sensor with a lower frequency. The range of ultrasonic sensors is proportional to the frequency. We’ve taken this into account and have developed variations in all of our sensor lines with the goal of being able to detect various ranges. You can view our product catalog here.

Can you control the range of ultrasonic sensors?

The range is limited by the hardware. For example, our HRLV-MaxSonar-EZ line of ultrasonic sensors will typically detect objects from 1-mm to 5-m and senses the range to objects from 30-cm to 5-m. It’s best to choose the ultrasonic sensor that has been developed closest to your project requirements. Be sure to check the sensor’s technical features to confirm that it’s the right one for you.

What is the range of proximity sensors?

The sensing range of proximity sensors is different from one to another. A few of our sensors detect as close as 1mm while others can detect as far as 10 m. Our cargo sensor is a unique case as it is designed to detect the presence or absence of cargo in a 16.5 m (53′) cargo trailer. As you can see, the sensor range depends on the sensor and the application.

Are proximity sensors waterproof?

Depending on the sensor you choose for your proximity sensing, they can be what we consider water resistant. Our WR sensors with our F-Option (IP68 rated) and wire attach, will allow your sensor to be protected against water intrusion, outdoor environments, and other environmental conditions.

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