The increasing electronics system complexity and the need to optimize the development and manufacturing process is driving a revolution in the in-vehicle electronic architecture. The following are the major drivers and enablers of such transformation:
- Enormous amount of new features and function requested in the cars
- Interconnected ECU: synergetic exchange of data among several electronic systems
- Governmental push for safety and fuel efficiency
- Cyber-security concerns
- Need of frequent update
- Need of functional upgrade
- Increasing maintenance and development Cost
- Need for reduced time to market (to adjust with Consumer Electronics needs)
- Broad deployment of connectivity technologies in all industrial segments
- Software defined “everything”
- Availability of advanced and performing semiconductor components and new technology
- System and semiconductor component integration and cost reduction
All above and more has triggered already since few year significant mind-set and architectural transformations for vehicle electronics. The factors listed above will affect each single automotive domain, from Body to ADAS, passing through infotainment, and that will be influencing as well the entire vehicle architecture in terms of networking and interconnection of the several electronic control units (ECU). Just facing the vehicle architecture in its globalism, vehicle manufacturers might opportunistically leverage different trends, affecting different domains at different time, to control cost and hardware proliferation. As example, maintaining the overall number of ECUs under control is essential, and it can be achieved by integrating functionality (and ECUs) in a stable automotive domain like infotainment, while increasing the number of feature and ECUs in other segments, like ADAS, which still are quite dynamic, as well as still characterized by a relatively low attach rate.
On the innovation side, new technologies will appear and further transform vehicles performance. Artificial Intelligence is in evolution: from Infotainment applications (voice and speech recognition) to Autonomous driving. IHS Markit expects AI to enable “real” self-driving vehicle, especially when targeting L4 and L5 autonomous levels. New algorithms and hardware optimized for AI in the automotive segment will materialize in the next few years, changing today´s application scenario.