Electronic Equipment Usage on Japanese Vehicles 750201
The application of a wide assortment of electronic systems to motor vehicles currently under serious consideration in the automotive and electronic industries would provide a number of advantages such as improved service and maintenance, better performance and reliability, and improvements in safety as well as emission control. At present, the substantial use of electronics is limited to only a few automotive systems-alternator, auto radio, and stereo. However, signs of electronization in other auto systems such as regulators, fuel injection systems, ignition systems, lighting systems, power control systems, clock, etc. are becoming apparent and will be discussed at length in this portion of the study.
The regulatory environment for auto safety and air pollution control is one of the more influential factors for auto electronization. The domestic regulatory environmment for auto safety is somewhat different from that in the United States. Currently, Japan does not have any safety regulation which necessitates the use of electronic systems, a situation arising from differences in traffic conditions between the two countries. Therefore, rapid increase in demand for electronic systems is not expected in the next few years. But it should be kept in mind that the Japanese auto industry is strongly influenced by changes occurring in United States safety regulations. To cite an example, Japanese auto makers are required to install ignition interlock systems for seat belts on autos to be manufactured and exported to the United States market after August 15 of this year. However, in the area of emission control Japan will have severe standards effective after 1975, which will require an increase in the use of electronic systems. However, when considering the future of electronization, we must take into consideration the influence of the Honda CVCC engines which require no electronic control systems to satisfy severe emission standards.
As concern over auto electronization has increased, better communication between the auto and electronic industry has been promoted and achieved through the establishment of the Committee of Auto Electronics, a special group within the Japan Society of Automobile Engineers, Inc. With this selected committee, members from both industries are able to exchange technical information concerning the application of electronics to motor vehicles, and in establishing standards for auto electronic components. In addition, joint R&D activities between individual auto and electronic component makers have also been accelerated.
Joint venture companies established by auto and electronic component manufactures for R&D and manufacture of auto electronic systems are looked upon as prime promoters of auto electronization. Nippon Denshi Kiki (Japan Electronic Systems), established by Robert Bosch of West Germany; Nissan, Isuzu, and Diesel Kiki, for manufacturing electronic fuel injection systems, Fujitsu-Ten, joint venture company by Toyota, Nippon Denso and Fujitsu, for R&D and manufacturing of various auto electronic systems, IC's, radios and stereos, are the pioneers of such joint venture companies.
Development of new techniques to apply electronic systems to a number of applications within the automotive system, such as in-transit communication, diagnostic systems, and accident prevention, will be the goals sought through the cooperation between both industries.