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This paper presents the generic model of intelligent instruments and specifies it for intelligent sensors, from a functional point of view, i.e., from the point of view of the services they offer to the system designer. Basic services are concerned with data estimation and data characterization, both based on local transducers and on the availability of remote signals. Advanced services are concerned with data validation, through fault detection and isolation procedures, and with fault tolerance, by means of accommodation and reconfiguration strategies. Finally, the integration of intelligent sensors in distributed control systems is discussed.