Extensible and Upgradeable Vehicle Electrical, Electronic, and Software Architectures 2002-01-0878
The rapid growth of electronic feature content within the vehicle continues to challenge the automotive industry. Customers want cutting edge consumer electronics features in a vehicle before the features are obsolete. However, automotive manufacturers continue to struggle with introducing new features into vehicles before they become obsolete to the customer. The ability for automotive manufacturers to seamlessly upgrade existing products with new and improved products continues to plague the automotive industry. Vehicles traditionally take 4 plus years to design and manufacture. Automotive manufacturers need to plan consumer electronics features early, but not actually integrate those into the vehicle until late in the design cycle, possibly on the production line. This would help facilitate providing the most recent features. Also, automotive manufacturers need the ability to upgrade existing vehicle features and add the latest and greatest consumer electronics features after the vehicle has left the show room. The challenge for automotive manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers is to design and develop the vehicle Electrical, Electronic, and Software (EES) architecture in order to provide a more effective means of introducing new features expediently and efficiently, then support this strategy with appropriate business and financial decisions.
The automotive manufacturers should uncouple the dependencies between a vehicle's powertrain, chassis and sheet metal from the electrical, electronic and software system. These dependencies have historically interfered with an automotive OEM's ability to provide current electronic and software based features into a vehicle which is 2 to 4 years into design but not yet in production. This typically results in a “new” vehicle which is unable to provide currently available consumer electronics features. Standardized interfaces, better development processes, methods, and tools which allow engineers to go from features to product much faster will enable automotive manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers to meet the customer wants. Open Systems appear to offer many of these advantages, but how well does this approach suit automotive development and what does it mean to the business strategy.