Car Electronics 2012

The Year of The EV article tells that We can dub 2011 the year of the EV (electric vehicles) and gives a timeline what happened 2011. The end result is that today there are enough Volts on the road (along with competitors like Nissan’s Leaf, various hybrids, and an electric Ford Focus) that it might be safe to suggest that the electric car is here to stay.

There has been many different car charging connectors in use on electronic vehicles. Electric Car Charging Standards Split article tells that many car manufacturers have agreed on a single EV charging port connector standard that has been in development by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) for several years. European car companies have been divided on standards for both AC and DC charging. The new single connector will support fast DC charging as well as be backward compatible with the J1772 AC charger that is standard on many plug-in electric vehicles today. I think that use of that standard will rise in 2012, and common charging standard will speed up the EV deployment.


Automotive electronics: What’s hot in 2012 article tells that in automotive electronics, 2012 looks to be a year of consolidation as technologies introduced previously become more widespread across model lines. In particular, voice recognition, with different features and interfaces, is seen as a way of distinguishing one brand from another, while electrified power trains in the form of hybrids and pure electric drives will be available in more models. In keep costs down driven auto industry the more mature the technology that goes into a car, the less risk of failure and costly warranty claims.

Cars and smartphones start to communicate using MirrorLink technology to allow new features. MirrorLink™ has been developed with the objective to provide a technology, offering seamless (extremely simple from the consumer perspective) connectivity between a smart phone and the in-vehicle infotainment system. It uses IP technologies in order to be independent of the physical transport mechanism and supports many car connectivity solutions (Bluetooth, WLAN, USB etc.). Whereas MirrorLink™ does allow any legacy application on the mobile device to show-up on the car display, it specifically enables easy development of mobile device based automotive applications.

Ethernet for Vehicles is gaining momentum in in the car. Ethernet for Vehicles Advances article tells that Ethernet technology in the car (a concept that was once unthinkable for the automotive industry) has been gaining momentum lately. Special interest group, known as the OPEN (One-Pair-Ether-Net) SIG, is aimed at driving broad-scale adoption of Ethernet in vehicles, largely to serve the expected boom of camera-based applications in cars. Many vehicles now have backup cameras, and many others are going to add cameras for such applications as lanekeeping, adaptive cruise control, and collision avoidance.

There is going to be an increasing number of Driver Information applications that involve displaying complex images and graphics. Xilinx Paves the Way for a New Generation of Automotive Driver Assistance and Infotainment Systems at CES 2012. World’s first Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) based Ethernet Audio/Video Bridging (EAVB) network implementation optimized for carrying high-speed data traffic within the automobile was shown at CES 2012. The IEEE 802.1 EAVB standard is already gaining the attention of a number of leading automotive manufacturers even though the specifications are still being finalized. OMG! Amazing home displays and automotive Ethernet AVB stuff from Xilinx article gives some more details what is expected in near future.


New electronics features are making challenges for developers. Automotive Electronics: Do We Really Need All This Stuff? article tells that everyone in the auto industry knows that the number of electronic control units (ECUs) in vehicles is nearing the point of unmanageability. Low-end vehicles now incorporate between 35 and 40 ECUs, while luxury cars may have 80 or more. “We’re right up against the limit right now. We need to find unique ways to integrate features and functions, and give our customers what they want without overloading our controllers.” The number of automotive features and functions keeps rising.

Would Cellphone Ban Secure Car Safety? article tells that the proliferation of in-car entertainment technologies (internet routers, smartphone links, MP3 connections, capacitive touch screens, etc.) are great for selling cars. Auto executives understand what consumers want: Many people don’t want a car with no extra features. Those new extra features have also sparked a serious debate about driver distraction dangers. “According to NHTSA [the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration], more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents.” “You’re dealing with human nature here. People want what they want. And sometimes they want more than they should have.”


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Toyota to launch hydrogen (ie, NATURAL GAS) powered fuel cell hybrid
    Mirai released only in Japan … for now

    Toyota will launch its all-new Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in Japan on 15 December before introducing it in the UK and other selected European markets in September 2015, with that date dictated by getting a refuelling infrastructure rolled out.

    Fuel cells, which produce electricity directly as they combine fuel with oxygen (as opposed to producing mechanical power from heat which is then turned into ‘leccy by a generator) have been the power of the future for nearly 100 years, and even provided some fizzy drinking water as a by-product of powering the Apollo landers (the Space Shuttles also used fuel cell exhaust as drinking water).

    Mirai uses the Toyota Fuel Cell System (TFCS), which brings together fuel cell and hybrid technologies. It includes Toyota’s new, proprietary fuel cell stack and high-pressure hydrogen tanks. Toyota claims this is more energy efficient than internal combustion engines and emits no CO2 or pollutants when the vehicle is driven.

    Toyota points out that there are distinct advantages over other forms of electric power as the system has a range of 300 miles and a hydrogen refuelling time of around three minutes. But with a top speed of just 111mph and a 0-62 time of 9.6 seconds, it’s way behind a Tesla S, let alone a Tesla D. This is clearly not helped by the Mirai having a kerb weight of 1,850kg.

    Filling a car with something as explosive as petrol is pretty dangerous, but pressurised, to 700bar, hydrogen poses an additional level of risk so the car has two carbon fibre-reinforced plastic tanks well inside the wheelbase and mounted low.

    A pre-collision system with millimetre-wave radar could help prevent collisions, or reduce damage in an impact by triggering driver alerts and (if a high collision risk is detected) brake control.

    This is very much a halo project with European sales forecast at 50 to 100 cars a year over the next two years so you can expect it to be more than an optioned Tesla at £100,000.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Renesas Shifts Automotive Center of Gravity to Europe

    MUNICH — Concentrating its ADAS R&D activities in one organization with worldwide responsibilities, chipmaker Renesas has established its Global ADAS Solution Group in Düsseldorf, Germany. At electronica, Jean-Francois Chouteau, general manager of this group, explained the chipmaker’s intentions and strategies with respect to ADAS markets.

    Achieving some 60% of its global sales with customers in the automotive industry, automotive OEMs as well as tier ones and twos are the most important pillar in Renesas’ business. Currently, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are not only in high demand from these customers, ADAS also is the place where Renesas’ experience in safety-critical systems meets with its expertise in the data-intensive infotainment world, Chouteau explains. “ADAS is in the middle of both,” Chouteau said. The new ADAS competence Centre in Duesseldorf, launched as recent as October, represents a strategic activity for Renesas and its new major shareholders like Toyota.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Jaguar Land Rover Tours Its Cars
    “Not an easy roadmap,” says engineer

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. — An engineer from Jaguar Land Rover sketched out the guts of its latest cars and gave a sneak peek at plans for future ones in a keynote at the Printed Electronics USA show here.

    The company’s Discovery Vision concept is a self-learning car that acts in some ways like a smartphone on wheels. Onboard computers map out routes, check traffic, scan the owner’s calendar for meetings, and informs him when to leave and what route to take. If the car thinks it will arrive late, it sends a message to the meeting organizer.

    Inside, the car responds to a driver’s gestures. A wave of the hand opens doors, turns on the radio and headlights, and changes the level of tint on windows.

    The car not only sports a heads-up display on the dashboard, but it also uses lasers to project guidelines on the way ahead when terrain is challenging. Drivers can use a tablet to pilot the car remotely on particularly rugged terrain.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Automotive Industry Drives Chip Demand

    IC Insights compared the six most significant end-user markets for integrated circuits. These are the computer, consumer, communications, automotive, industrial/medical, and government/defense markets. During the time frame, until 2018, the IC demand from automotive customers is expected to exhibit the strongest average annual growth — 10.8% on average. This is significantly higher than the communications industry, at second place with 6.8%.

    The computer market, once the IC growth driver per se, apparently is approaching saturation status. With 3.3% CAGR, it shows the lowest growth of all segments (albeit certainly at a very high sales level).

    In contrast, automotive chip demand is still growing from a smaller base. While a high semiconductor content in earlier years was associated to the luxury class, higher quantities of chips are installed now in vehicles of all categories.

    Demand drivers include safety features that increasingly are becoming mandatory, such as backup cameras or eCall. But driver-assistance systems are also becoming ubiquitous. Future drivers will include connectivity, such as vehicle-to-vehicle communications, as well as sensors and controllers necessary for various degrees of autonomous driving.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:
    In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars

    Jerry Hirsch writes in the LA Times that personal transportation is on the cusp of its greatest transformation since the advent of the internal combustion engine. For a century, cars have been symbols of freedom and status. But according to Hirsch, passengers of the future may well view vehicles as just another form of public transportation, to be purchased by the trip or in a subscription.

    In a self-driving future, we may not even want to own cars

    Personal transportation is on the cusp of its greatest transformation since the advent of the internal combustion engine.

    With the rise of self-driving vehicles, ride-sharing, traffic congestion and environmental regulation, we may not even own cars in the future, much less drive them.

    A glimpse of the coming revolution can be seen in the models debuting this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Hidden under their hoods and dashboards are sensors that take the first steps toward autonomous driving. Already, cars can park themselves, slam on the brakes to avoid crashes and adjust steering to stay centered in a lane.

    But the disruption will go well beyond who is — or isn’t — at the controls. For a century, cars have been symbols of freedom and status. Passengers of the future may well view vehicles as just another form of public transportation, to be purchased by the trip or in a subscription.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Here’s What Your Car Could Look Like In 2030

    If you took your cubicle, four wheels, powerful AI, and brought them all together in unholy matrimony, their offspring might look something like the self-driving future car created by design consultants IDEO. That’s not to say that every car on the road in 2030 will look like a mobile office, but technology could take driving to a place where a car’s convenience and onboard software (not to mention smaller size) matter more than, say, speed or handling, especially as urban areas become denser and people potentially look at “driving time” as a time to get things done or relax as the car handles the majority of driving tasks.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Transparent car shows automotive’s future

    From vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, the once isolated and stand-alone automobile is fundamentally changing. At electronica 2014, TE Connectivity showcased the application of aluminum harnesses to make cars lighter, as well as urea quality sensors to reduce CO2 emissions, driver assistance features communicating via high-reliability gigabit-rate Ethernet, and 3D antennas adapted from cellular phones, using a beautifully constructed clear-plastic full-size model car.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:
    High Power Two-Fold Low Frequency Initiator Device with Integrated Immobilizer Functionality

    Utilizing its expertise in wireless technology and passive entry/start systems for automotive, Melexis introduces the MLX74190. This low-frequency (LF) initiator IC, consists of two high power, independently programmable LF drivers plus built-in immobilizers.

    One of the main applications for this device is automobile remote passive start, where it is used to transmit a high power LF signal to wake-up the key inside the car. The key sends out its encrypted identification number to the car via an ultra-high frequency (UHF) signal, enabling the engine to start.

    Both of the LF drivers can be programmed to generate sine (1A peak maximum) or square (2.5A peak maximum) waves with frequencies between 109kHz and 140kHz and an output amplitude from 0.25V to 32V peak-to-peak.

    Amplitude-shift keying (ASK) or phase-shift keying (PSK) modulation can be used to transmit LF telegrams to the key or LF receiver.

    The two built-in immobilizers support ASK and frequency-shift keying (FSK) modulations.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Choosing your car by the data plan it offers

    A recent trend has appeared in the new model year of cars – they have integrated cellular connections with an in-car WiFi router and require a monthly data plan. In addition to car brand loyalty, the consumer community now has to contend with “cross over loyalty” on cellular providers.

    GM is promoting the connected car option in their Chevrolet and Cadillac lines in high-profile TV ads (see image below). This network is supported by AT&T and features single day, annualized bulk purchase and monthly subscriptions for the data plans. Other car brands are making alliances with Verizon, and Sprint.

    These in-car systems will support both car-to-network connectivity to pass on information for the car and driver and in-car connectivity for up to seven additional mobile devices operated by passengers. The purpose is to provide connectivity for in-cabin entertainment to the passengers, allow for passengers to stay connected with work when stuck in traffic and also create a safer driving experience.

    The car connectivity can now display high reliability and integrated mapping and GPS with a more powerful antenna system than is available in a mobile device.

    This roll out with the provider tie in will most likely help the auto manufacturers keep cars more “current” as they can now push firmware and software updates to the car on an as-needed basis. The challenge will be to address the “immediacy” and “new feature” needs of the customers who expect new mobile products every 18 months, but the cars are typically in service for 15-20 years.

    How these connected plans will shift the demographics and loyalties of car buyers for new vehicles is yet to be determined. The other impact is how the used car community takes to these required connection packages, and what happens to the use of the car when 5G or 6G cellular technology comes out, rendering the 4G connectivity of the fully operational car obsolete and needing $25-$50 per month to use them. It may be that the in-car cellular is just a transient solution while proper mobile device integration is being developed.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:
    A view what is inside modern car audio system:

    How the firmware updates work on Toyota Touch & Go

    As has already been determined, the head unit runs the QNX Neutrino operating system. The board appears to be based on a TI DM3730 (OMAP3 ARMv7) SoC and all the radio, navigation, etc. functionality is provided by a Toyota-specific extension box which may be running a Renesas V850 and a firmware of it’s own.

    he board has a NAND flash chip which is divided between IPL, IFS and ETFS partitions. The first two are read-only and loaded into RAM on bootup. The ETFS is a read/write filesystem, so the updater scripts can delete, replace and add individual files on it.

    Additionally, an MMC card (probably not a physical card, though) is mounted on /fs/mmc0/ifs for system data.

    Dumping the IFS image reveals a bunch of interesting stuff, such as the boot scripts, validation keys and various ARM binaries.

    Although JTAG headers are ubiquitous on embedded systems, it is very possible that a production device only has solder points without actual pins. In this case we’d have to modify the board by adding the pins in order to be able to use a programmer device.

    An alternative to flashing via JTAG is getting shell access on the device via TCP/IP and reflashing the IFS using the built-in tools on the device. The guys at Tarlab Oulu have discovered that the device has an open telnet service on port 23 and presents a login prompt. If a username/password combination for logging into shell with root access is found, the device is open for flashing any images from mounted USB storage devices.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:
    The changing role of LEDs in automotive lighting applications – Part 1—Part-1-?_mc=NL_EDN_EDT_EDN_consumerelectronics_20141126&cid=NL_EDN_EDT_EDN_consumerelectronics_20141126&elq=ca6e4f95c09149b6b4b67fb77b769971&elqCampaignId=20353

    20.1 Introduction
    The majority of roads in North America and much of the rest of the world are not illuminated by fixed pole- mounted roadway lighting systems (NHTSA, 2007). Because of this, automotive lighting is a key component for driving safely at night.

    The performance requirements for vehicle headlamps (such as those published in the United States as Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108) are based on standards and recommendations published by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and similar industry organizations. These requirements stipulate certain minimum or maximum luminous intensities toward different directions from the center of the vehicle lighting system.

    A similar set of photometric performance requirements exists for countries outside North America; these differ in the particulars but have the same objectives of specifying luminous intensities to ensure vehicle lighting systems provide sufficient light for drivers to see at night while minimizing glare to other drivers, and to ensure that vehicle signal lights can be detected promptly and without ambiguity.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Symbolic lurch: Uber becoming as valuable as the largest car rental company

    Uberin publicity problems do not scare investors to assess the company’s value up to $ 40 billion. This will make the company the same footing as the world’s largest car rental company Hertz.

    Ride service Uber is finalizing a financing round, in which its value is becoming as much as 35 to 40,000,000,000 US dollars, writes the news agency Bloomberg.

    Uber valuation would make it 1.5 times more valuable than the micro-blogging service Twitter, and just as valuable as Kraft Foods and the car rental company Hertz, such as large corporations.


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