The current state of the automotive industry reflects several electrical and electronic vehicle architecture trends. Traditionally, Tier 1 suppliers have been responsible for the hardware and software for vehicular parts. Tier 2 suppliers were software firms that served the hardware and software needs of Tier 1 suppliers. Traditionally, electronic systems have been built as add-ons to the hardware or as part of the electronic control unit (ECU). The individual ECUs have minimal computing power and are designed to control a single piece of hardware.
The next wave of E/E vehicle architecture trends will focus on centralized architectures, which will reduce wires and increase the overall computing power of the vehicle. It is expected to become the predominant vehicle architecture in the mid-2020s, helping OEMs cut costs and freeing up space for new software features. Ultimately, the new architecture will help drivers experience a seamless driving experience with fewer interfaces. In addition, this architecture will be more energy efficient than previous generations.
Ultimately, E/E architectures will have to accommodate new vehicle technologies like automated driving, expanded infotainment, and 5G connectivity. Traditional E/E architectures will no longer be sufficient to meet the demands of these innovations, and it will be difficult to scale up to accommodate the additional demands. The automotive industry has begun automating the assembly of wiring harnesses, which are among the most complex components. These advances will increase the level of security and efficiency, reducing the overall complexity of the vehicle’s electronic and electrical architecture.
Changing automotive electronics has spawned new technological advancements. While early EE architectures simply added a controller for a single function, today’s vehicles can feature over 100 control units. Today’s vehicles have over 100 control units, making the wiring harness extremely complex and labor-intensive. For this reason, today’s vehicles are much more advanced than their predecessors. In addition to this, they now have an improved interface that allows for a unified communication platform.
While the E/E vehicle architectures are changing, the evolution of the automotive industry has also changed the design and engineering process. The evolution of E/E architectures has forced automakers to invest in increasing their software competency, and to bring software development in-house. While most software components will be common across all vehicles, a significant portion will be customized for each car. Ultimately, these changes will change the way OEMs approach their supplier relationships.
As more electronic systems are integrated into vehicles, the electrical and electronic systems have become an integral part of them. Additionally, the increasing focus on electric and autonomous technologies is changing the way automobiles are designed. As cars become more complex, engineers need to develop technologies that enable more functionality in less space. This means that engineers will need to make use of new technologies to design more compact and efficient electronic components. Further, the increased use of electronic systems will require more sophisticated wiring and interconnections than ever before.
The automotive industry will undergo a transformation as more consumers demand the latest features in their cars. As a result, OEMs are trying to provide mass customization. This is a challenging process for OEMs since their business relies on high volume sales. However, it does have significant benefits: it will allow OEMs to leverage BOMs across platforms, thereby reducing design and manufacturing costs. This trend will make it possible to connect devices functionally, which is essential for a car’s safety and performance.