Vasant Easwaran, senior manager, automotive solutions at Cyient Semiconductor, IoT & Analytics business unit, writes that as key ecosystem partners are carving out their value propositions to help the vehicle makers meet their goals. Their role is vital, as is collaboration across the ecosystem.

In the evolving landscape of connected cars, new technologies are constantly moving to the forefront, each growing at its own rate and in its own capacity. AUTomotive Open System ARchitecture (AUTOSAR), RADAR, light detection and ranging (LiDAR), Automotive Grade Linux, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity, Android, human-machine interface (HMI), deep learning, and cameras of all kinds will become staples in every connected car. Suppliers and vehicle manufacturers are riding the wave of rapid innovation, propelled and inspired by a number of ecosystem partners.

Two primary drivers

Technology in the connected cars market is spurred by two primary goals; to assure the safety of drivers, passengers and other road users, and ecological advantages. Automotive fora like the Euro New Car Assessment Programme and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are driving faster reforms in legislation, mandating safety features in semi- and fully autonomous vehicles, while vehicle makers’ initiatives like Toyota Safety Sense and community-based initiatives like Vision Zero are bringing safety features to cars even sooner than specific legislation comes in to play.

The Motor Intelligence Report estimates that nearly 75% of the 92 million cars shipped globally will be connected by 2020. When comparing the cost of electric vehicles and combustion-engine vehicles, car companies and communities are incentivised to achieve or exceed this target in the next five to ten years across all regions, with an even greater increase in electric car sales beyond 2020.

Europe is expected to lead the way with electric vehicles estimated to make up 30% of its total car sales by the end of 2025. Given the pace of innovation and the amount of work still to be done, it is imperative that the entire supply chain is actively and heavily engaged in making the technological transition within the required time frame.

Finding the right solution

Driverless, connected car solutions include the use of smart sensors (RADAR, LiDAR, and cameras), communication mechanisms (V2X and GPS), and intelligent fusion systems (deep learning) used to determine free space and avoid obstacles for autonomous driving. However, arriving at the right solution is not simple when considering the challenges associated with achieving the highest possible level of safety, including environmental conditions, human behaviour, and costs in different regional markets.

Vasant Easwaran

Connected car solutions also include evolving infotainment displays, which are implemented in a digital cockpit or dashboard. Made in a variety of shapes and sizes, these displays highlight information related to the speedometer, navigation maps, heads-up display, audio, video, connectivity and cameras around the car. All of this is made possible with the use of applications built around high-level operating systems like Android, QNX, Apple CarPlay, etc.

We need new business models

Another challenge is the high cost of the vehicles in which all of these solutions come together, making the technology accessible only to a niche consumer base. To solve this problem, a variety of ownership models are being considered to ensure these vehicles are widely available. Companies like Waymo and Uber are envisioning a lease programme, giving a larger number of consumers the opportunity to use driverless cars.

At the actual implementation level as well, the connected car solution is difficult, as the system involves multiple different technical aspects, right from the applications-specific integrated circuits, automotive-specific hardware board design with interference protection, power management, embedded software, application software, Internet of Things (IoT) to the cloud analytics, working together as an ISO26262-compliant system.

These all aspects need to work together as a robust system with reliability hence it is critical that they should not be developed completely independent of each other. Developing complete solution with these experts together, not only helps ensure robust system but also accelerates the time to market.

For more information see Cyient

The author of this blog is Vasant Easwaran, senior manager, automotive solutions at Cyient Semiconductor

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