Implementing this in a vehicle is more complex, but the automotive industry is accelerating progress in this direction.
Karl-Heinz Glander, senior engineering manager for Automated Driving & Integral Cognitive Safety at ZF, says: “Currently, if the driver wants an automatic emergency braking function, for example, the automaker buys the radar hardware along with the control algorithms. Updates happen when a new generation of hardware launches, along with new code. Automated driving will not work like this.”
"Cars that offer automated functions will have electronic architectures that will be independent of the hardware. With the arrival of Microsoft and Intel, development of specialized computers like the Spectrum ZX and Commodore 64 ceased. Vehicles are starting to make the same type of transition.”
In the past, a vehicle might have dedicated sensors for blind spot monitoring and for a Traffic Jam Assist function but no exchange of information between the two. With component-oriented architectures, even when components are on the same CAN network, combining these functions can be difficult.
“With more advanced electronic architectures, safety systems can evolve from making simple decisions based on just two or three signals,” says Glander. “When planning a future vehicle platform with 20 sensors, more and more automakers now look first at how to combine all that data into a single, centralized architecture. That could be with a central, powerful ECU or by sharing the computing power of different ECUs.”