Bosch Invented the Automotive Oxygen Sensor 40 Years Ago

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Robert Bosch LLC is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its invention of the automotive oxygen sensor, and is also marking the production of its one billionth oxygen sensor.

An integral part of today’s sophisticated vehicles, automotive oxygen sensors are now a standard feature on all gasoline and most diesel engines worldwide. No other vehicle component stands for “clean driving” as much as the automotive oxygen sensor does, keeping the fuel system running efficiently to protect the environment from harmful emissions while helping to save fuel cost, according to Bosch.

“Since pioneering this technology four decades ago, Bosch has continued to lead the way in automotive oxygen sensor design and innovation,” says Eric Yagley, senior product manager oxygen sensors for Robert Bosch LLC, Automotive Aftermarket North America. “Today’s Bosch Wideband oxygen sensor has a more sophisticated sensing element that provides a signal to the vehicle’s ECU that is proportional to the amount of oxygen in the exhaust.”

The automotive oxygen sensor was developed by Bosch as emissions systems were beginning to be established in the 1970s. At that time, a growing need to meet new stringent emission standards resulted in countless rounds of testing and development, and ultimately the first automotive oxygen sensor, the Bosch Lambda Sensor, was created.

As an early adopter of the technology, Volvo was the first manufacturer to equip its vehicles with automotive oxygen sensors, starting with the 1976 Volvo Lambda Sonde. In the years since, automotive oxygen sensors have become an essential part of the modern emissions system which monitors and regulates the combustion process, with many applications utilizing multiple oxygen sensors in the vehicle exhaust system.

The company says one of the best testaments to the quality of Bosch oxygen sensors came in 2012. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series made the switch from carbureted to fuel-injected engines, and Bosch became the exclusive oxygen sensor of NASCAR. In 2016, Bosch extended its partnership with NASCAR to include fuel pumps and injectors as well.

Bosch offers a full coverage program of aftermarket automotive oxygen sensors, produced on the same manufacturing lines as Bosch OE sensors. These aftermarket sensors feature OE form, fit and function to meet or exceed manufacturer specifications. Bosch Oxygen Sensors are jointly engineered and manufactured in the United States and Germany.

For additional information on the history of technology behind Bosch automotive oxygen sensors, visit, and for product information, visit

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