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.


    Tech More: Uber
    UBER DRIVERS PROTEST: ‘You Can’t Make A Living Working Only For Uber’
    Read more:

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:
    The Unknown Start-up That Built Google’s First Self-Driving Car

    Two of Google’s signature innovations, Street View cameras and self-driving cars, were actually developed by 510 Systems, a small start-up that the tech giant quietly bought in 2011

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Korea, France Join Forces on Driverless Cars R&D

    The governments of Korea and France decided to conduct jointly funded R&D projects to develop software and parts for driverless cars, reports newspaper Korea Joongang Daily. Other topics for the joint R&D efforts are wearables and digital medical devices.

    Through the joint R&D projects, the two countries hope to become market leaders in the new business areas. The projects should be successful, because Korea’s strong information and communications technologies (ICT) and manufacturing technologies and France’s wide pool of basic science and source technologies create synergy, said the assistant ministers at a forum earlier this week where more than 200 government officials, researchers, and private sector executives from Korea and France discussed project details and schedules.

    Korean auto parts and telecom device developers, including LG Electronics, Renault Samsung Motors, and Hyundai Mobis, and Renault Motors from France, will jointly develop radar and communication modules, key parts of driverless cars.

    The projects will start next year with €2.17 million (US$2.70 million) from the two countries and €7.45 million ($9.29 million) from the European Commission’s Eureka program fund.

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Uber begins testing out its carpooling service in New York this week

    After launching its carpooling service in both Paris and San Francisco earlier this year, Uber is adding New York to that list. Today, the company said it plans to offer UberPool in New York, a city with a lot of people and a lot of cars, but often not people with cars of their own. UberPool, which launches there on Thursday, offers a way to share a ride with someone else who ordered an UberX ride along the same route.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Google Releases Device Assist, a Troubleshooting App for Nexus and Google Play Edition Devices

    Websites and forums can be helpful in diagnosing problems with your smartphone and/or tablet, but even better would be an easy-to-use, dedicated application. Perhaps in recognition of that fact, Google released Device Assist today, an app for Nexus and Google Play Edition devices running Lollipop that can troubleshoot issues and proffer tips.

    Device Assist tries to proactively prevent problems by offering suggestions. It’ll recommended changing your screen brightness setting to save battery, for example, or charging via wall port instead of USB. For more complicated issues, a handy button allows you to contact Google support and, if you so choose, submit device information for a presumably better tailored experience.

    The app also provides a list of common tasks and how to perform them, like taking a screenshot and customizing notifications. Presented in the form of cards, most contain instructions in the form of either text or a video that can be saved or archived at will.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:
    The basics of automotive cluster device architectures and applications

    With the increased complexity of vehicle electronics, greater functionality requires status information to be displayed to the driver. The instrument cluster is the primary data source for the driver, delivering information about vehicle and engine status. Given system complexity, however, there is greater demand for a more user friendly, lucrative and cost-effective solution to support a wide range of automotive cluster applications. Here we will discuss various components of a cluster device that enable this support. The article classifies cluster architecture and applications into the following broad categories:

    Types of cluster devices
    Autosar application component
    Graphics application component
    Cluster security
    Device memory requirement
    Low power mode cluster architecture

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Home> Tools & Learning> Design Tools > Design Tool
    Dev tool generates virtual ECUs for functional tests

    Version 4.3 of the Systemdesk Autosar tool from dSpace enables function developers and software integrators in the automotive domain to automatically generate virtual Electronic Control Units (V-ECUs) in a development process complying with Autosar R4. Within the dSpace tool chain for virtual safeguarding, V-ECUs facilitate testing of new ECU functions without the need for hardware prototypes.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Audi Robotic Racecar Relies on GPS
    17 Oct 2014

    This weekend Audi will show off its self-driving technology under what would seem to be the most challenging conditions imaginable: a race track.

    Yet despite the high speeds involved, the feat is simpler in some ways than navigating city streets, where you have to recognize and avoid pedestrians and squirrels. A race car merely has to keep its position on the track, moving in and out of it only when passing or dodging another car.

    And because the track is a known quantity, the car can keep it all in its little electronic head and rely heavily on GPS—provided it’s corrected to an accuracy of just a few centimeters. Which, in this case, it will be.

    The public demonstration will take place on Sunday at the Hockenheim race track, in southwestern Germany. The car, an RS 7, will do a lap or two at race pace, around 250 kilometers per hour (149 miles per hour). It will duel with an identical, but human-piloted car. My money’s on the robot.

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Augmented Reality Helps Drivers See Around Blind Spots
    The inner surfaces of a car become windows on the world, giving the driver a bird’s-eye view

    You’re traveling down the highway with the road flashing by beneath your feet and the scenery looming everywhere—fore and aft, left and right, above and below. Gone are the usual blind spots created by your vehicle’s doors, window frames, roof, and floor. You’re as free as a bird and just as aware of your surroundings.

    We call this form of augmented reality a transparent cockpit because it would make the driver of a car feel like he’s piloting an airplane—another place where this technology might be used. We have implemented it in test cars using cameras, imaging software, projector displays, and reflective surfaces. Thus equipped, human beings could drive very safely while still enjoying the open road—more open, indeed, than ever before.

    A car made of glass would be an attractive prospect if glass weren’t structurally inferior to steel.

    You could use one of two types of display systems to achieve this effect: one that gives off its own light or one that reflects light from a projector.

    Any conventional projection system would fail for obvious reasons.

    We have solved all these problems with a new projector system that reflects light precisely back along the path it has just taken.

    Our retroreflective projection technology, or RPT, uses a screen coated in 50-micrometer glass beads, which produces a very bright reflection.

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Chinese Drivers Welcome Our New Robocar Overlords

    A poll released today suggests that driverless cars appeal most in China and India and least in Japan, with English-speaking countries—the only comparison group—taking the middle ground.

    The Japanese position at the bottom and India’s near the top are strange. Could Japan’s reputation for robo-philism be unjustified? Was the survey—conducted online—unrepresentative of opinion in China and India?

    In their paper on the survey, authors Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak, of the University of Michigan, address the second question. They argue that “though the respondents in these two countries may not be representative of the overall population, they are likely to be representative of those individuals who would comprise the initial market for autonomous and self-driving vehicles in these countries.”

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Ethernet for Drive-by-Wire?

    Few people would dispute that Ethernet is gaining momentum as an in-vehicle network.

    But beyond being the audio/visual (A/V) network for in-vehicle infotainment systems, what’s the potential impact of Ethernet on the whole car? Opinions vary.

    In a recent interview with EE Times, Rick Kreifeldt, president of the AVnu Alliance and vice president of Research and Innovation at Harman International, told us: “A/V was our original big focus.” But, he added, car OEMs today are looking “to use Ethernet architecture for drive-by-wire and autonomous vehicles.”

    In short, the Ethernet is ready to control networks inside cars, where time-sensitive scheduling and latency are critical.

    Work at the IEEE groups has made enough network enhancements, Kreifeldt said, for Ethernet to achieve the “precise timing” that can organize sensor information in sync for fusion, with “super-low latency” — a must for critical safety applications.

    The automotive Ethernet will even introduce “redundancy” for in-vehicle communication, said Kreifeldt. The goal is a “full Ethernet car with an ability to work, no matter what [happens to a node in the network].”

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:
    EU law bods: New eCall crash system WON’T TRACK YOU. Really
    Why don’t you trust us? *Cough* BND, GCHQ *cough*

    No, your car won’t be spying on you, say MEPs, but it will call you an ambulance should you need it.

    The European Parliament has reached a deal with national ministers to introduce a mandatory “eCall” system for all new cars from April 2018.

    However, although the system would automatically call the 112 emergency number in the event of a crash, euro lawmakers say that cars will not be continuously tracked.

    “It will be illegal to use eCall to track a driver’s movements or to misuse location data, which must be sent only to the emergency services,” said Olga Sehnalova, the Czech politician who helped broker the deal.

    The proposed rules would also follow the principle of data-minimisation, with only basic details such as the class of vehicle, the type of fuel used, the time of the accident, and the exact location given to the emergency services.

    Nor is any of the data gathered allowed to be passed on to third parties without the explicit consent of the person involved.

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Smarter Cars, But How Smart?

    he pace of development in all phases of intelligent objects. Delivery schedules are another matter.

    With the emergence of the Internet of Things, smart cars are beginning to garner more attention — the kind that comes with real R&D dollars, market development plans and cost analyses for future commercialization.

    Smart cars are different than connected cars, which are simply smartphones on wheels. Until now, the focus on intelligence in automobiles has largely been on driver assist and information delivery—the GPS, OnStar, LoJack, among others—as well as infotainment, and integration with the smartphone. But all of that is about to change as the IoT evolves.

    Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) have been around for years.

    Even though the technology has been on the evolutionary fast track, integration has been slow. There are a number of reasons for that. One is that there has been resistance from the automobile industry. While carmakers support semi-autonomous vehicles (driver assist), a fully autonomous transportation system will significantly diminish the revenue stream from vehicle sales.

    “For car manufacturers, it is a little tricky to accept driverless cars because it disrupts their fundamental business model,” says Dominique Bonte, vice president and practice director at ABI Research. “They will no longer sell to private individuals, but to specialized organizations that distribute and maintain these vehicles.”

    Such an infrastructure will simply be an on-demand environment. No one will “own” a vehicle. “Private resources will evolve to shared resources, centrally controlled, since autonomous vehicles can be controlled remotely,” Bonte says. “One can do traffic management, remotely control speed for optimal flow, for example, eliminating gridlock. ” There will be a plethora of electric vehicles everywhere. If one is needed, the nearest one will simply respond to the request, much like elevators do in high-occupancy buildings.

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:
    What’s Inside Your Car?

    Spansion’s VP of design engineering digs into automotive electronics and what to watch out for.

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:
    High Quality Analog Video Decoders and Encoder

    The TW9966 is an integrated circuit with four-channel analog video decoders and analog video encoder intended for automotive applications. These four high quality NTSC/PAL/SECAM video decoders convert the analog composite video signal to digital component YCbCr data. Each channel consists of a 10-bit ADC and proprietary clamp and gain controllers and uses a 4H comb filter for separating the luminance and the chrominance to minimize cross noise artifacts.

  27. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Ethernet for ADAS: Solving Automotive Challenges

    The adoption of ISO 13400 diagnostics over IP has made Ethernet common in today’s cars. There remain challenges, however. Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are one application where the industry is looking maximize Ethernet’s benefits.

    The adoption of ISO 13400 diagnostics over IP, which provides rapid re-programming speeds over a standard Ethernet physical interface, has made Ethernet common in today’s cars.

    There remain challenges, however, for its adoption as the ubiquitous in-vehicle networking bus of choice for automotive makers. Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), including camera systems, are one application where the industry is looking maximize Ethernet’s benefits.

    Why should someone consider Ethernet-based connectivity over analog or LVDS methods? Especially as the camera and central unit processing cost can be greater (Figure 1). There are number key factors beyond this one metric that ultimately provide lower costs and greater performance.

    One such factor is that the ability to employ low-cost unshielded cable significantly reduces cable costs. In addition, power-over-Ethernet (PoE) is possible with standard-based 100BASE-TX Ethernet, so no additional power cable is needed.

    But the true value of Ethernet is greater than simply reducing the bill of materials.

    The ultimate goal for Ethernet is to deliver a single ubiquitous in-vehicle network with seamless cross-domain communications — with a common data stream and physical media (cable) being utilized across vehicle domains, including chassis, powertrain, body, infotainment, and ADAS.

    This vastly reduces cost and complexity because there is no need for bridging, as a single network now allows the sharing of information both within a domain as well as across multiple domains. In short, Ethernet is a networking technology; this is its greatest value and how it reduces costs in any market, be it automotive, consumer, enterprise or industrial.

    The solution: Ethernet-based ADAS
    Micrel, together with automotive sensor specialist Silicon Micro Sensors (SMS), has designed a “production ready” solution for the most stringent automotive and industrial applications, featuring a high dynamic range (HDR) mega-pixel (720p) camera, field of view 55° up to 190°, MJPEG video compression, Ethernet AVB with PoE support, low-cost unshielded twisted-pair cabling, and IP68 / IP6k9 class, water-tight, anti-scratch and fog The camera is suitable for passenger, commercial and industrial vehicles, applications include; surround and rear view, side and rear mirror replacement, traffic sign, blind spot, pedestrian detection and lane departure assist.

    Aptina AR0132AT or OmniVision OV10635 image sensors options are available. A Freescale MPC5604 processor provides MJPEG compression from the incoming YUV digital image data, and interfaces over media-independent interface (MII) to the Micrel KSZ8061 Quiet-WIRE™ 100BASE-TX Ethernet PHY. A Micrel MEMS oscillator DS1001 provides system timing while Power management is delivered using an optimised form of PoE for automotive: Auto-PoE.

  28. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Harry McCracken / Fast Company:
    Ford’s new in-dash infotainment system Sync 3 replaces MyFord Touch, uses BlackBerry’s QNX instead of Microsoft’s OS

    Why Ford Dumping Microsoft’s Automotive Software Was Inevitable—And Probably Long Overdue

    Years ago, the carmaker took an early lead in infotainment. That helps explain why it’s now forced to start all over again.

    Ford is announcing a new infotainment system for its Ford and Lincoln vehicles today. Among its features: a streamlined, tablet-like interface with gestures such as swiping and pinch-to-zoom; smarter voice recognition; easier access to apps like Pandora and Spotify; Siri support for iPhone users; and the ability to update itself over your Wi-Fi network as your car sits in the garage or on the driveway. Some models will get the new system in 2015, and the company expects it to be available across all of its lines by the end of 2016.

    Its name—Sync 3—suggests continuity, evolution, and close ties to the systems which preceded it. But in fact, Sync 3 isn’t the third version of anything.

    Previous versions of Sync were created in collaboration with Microsoft and based on an operating system currently known as Windows Embedded Automotive. In a move which first surfaced as a rumor last February, Sync 3 ditches Microsoft entirely in favor of QNX, an industrial-strength operating system owned by BlackBerry. (It also provides the underpinnings for BlackBerry 10 phones such as the Passport.)

    Even if Ford isn’t anxious to talk about it, the switch to QNX is an eminently sensible move. The software already has over 50% market share in the automotive business, counting BMW, Chrysler, GM, Honda, Mercedes, Toyota, and others among its customers. Ford is pretty much adopting an industry standard.

    By moving to QNX, Ford is playing catch-up with its car electronics, But it’s not because the company didn’t see the revolution coming.

  29. Tomi Engdahl says:
    In Iowa, a Phone App Could Serve As Driver’s License

    Simply hand the law enforcement officer your mobile phone. That’s what you can do in Iowa rather than “digging through clutter in your glove compartment for an insurance card.” And soon your driver’s license will be available on your phone too

    Iowa to launch smartphone driver’s license

    Iowans will soon be able to use a mobile app on their smartphones as their official driver’s license issued by the Iowa Department of Transportation.

    The app, which will be provided to drivers at no additional cost, will be available sometime in 2015, DOT Director Paul Trombino told Gov. Terry Branstad during a state agency budget hearing Monday.

    People will still be able to stick a traditional plastic driver’s license in their wallet or purse if they choose, Trombino said. But the new digital license, which he described as “an identity vault app,” will be accepted by Iowa law enforcement officers during traffic stops and by security officers screening travelers at Iowa’s airports, he said.

    “It is basically your license on your phone,” he said.

    The new app should be highly secure, Trombino said. People will use a pin number for verification.

  30. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Ford Trades Microsoft for BlackBerry in Revamping In-Car System

    Few car-based connectivity systems in recent years have drawn as much ire as Ford Motor’s, known as MyFord Touch.

    On Thursday, Ford tried to turn the page on its beleaguered product. The company announced a complete redesign, jettisoning Microsoft, its longtime partner, in favor of BlackBerry, and replacing the MyFord Touch moniker with a new name, Sync 3.

    The new system is meant to streamline the complex web of menus and replace it with a more intuitive one akin to a smartphone. In-car technology has become one of the most important selling points for the auto industry, and Ford’s version had consistently proved too confusing.

    “Simplicity has value,” Parrish Hanna, Ford’s global director of Human Machine Interface, said in a statement. “Reducing the number of things on-screen also makes control easier and is designed to limit the number of times a driver has to glance at the screen.”

  31. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Data Acquisition Is No Drag

    In-vehicle data acquisition can help you diagnose engine problems and improve performance in vehicles, from passenger cars to tractors to drag racers. Measurements can help in finding the right tradeoff between ease of engine cranking and kickbacks.

    To record engine speed, you typically connect the tachometer output signal from the ignition system to the data logger. That provides four pulses per crank revolution, which is generally enough resolution for most applications.

    To check the mechanical condition of the engine, however, you need more detailed information.

    Experienced racers can detect a weak cylinder in an engine from the engine’s sound.

  32. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Uber pressures regulators by mobilizing riders and hiring vast lobbying network

    European long-distance ridesharing platform Carpooling arrives in the United States, partners with Uber

    German long-distance ridesharing platform Carpooling is teaming up with Uber, the world’s most famous provider of short-distance ride booking services, to try and conquer the United States.

  33. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Volvo will launch online car sales, skip some major auto shows

    Volvo Cars said it will start selling vehicles online as it rolls out new models to compete with German luxury rivals BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

    The Swedish carmaker, controlled by China’s Geely, will gradually introduce web sales and spend more on digital advertising, the company said today as it outlined changes to its global marketing strategy.

    “The plan is to have all our car lines in all our markets offered digitally,” Volvo sales chief Alain Visser said in an interview.

    “We know from research that more and more of our customers are ready to buy online,” Visser said. “The reason why they are willing to buy is not to get a cheaper price, but to avoid the hassle around negotiating the deal.”

    Volvo is also shifting its focus from auto shows to market more directly to buyers.

  34. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Jaguar Land Rover Shows Off Transparent Pillar Technology: Video

    Remember Land Rover’s unique transparent hood technology that allows you to see the position of a vehicle’s wheels from behind the wheel for easier off-roading? Well, sister brand Jaguar has come out with its own version of the technology, this time making the pillars of a car transparent so that driving is made easier in urban environments.

    The technology is called the 360 Virtual Urban Windscreen, and as its name suggests it provides the driver with a 360-degree view out of the vehicle, completely uninterrupted by the pillars that support the roof. Essentially, a screen embedded in the surface of each pillar inside the car relays a live video feed from cameras covering the angles outside the car.

    Pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles would be visible all around the car—and by combining the transparent pillars with a head-up display on the windscreen, the movement of other road users can be highlighted to the driver with an on-screen halo moving across the car’s virtual windscreen.

  35. Tomi Engdahl says:
    How New-Gen MCUs Handle Security in Cars

    The incessant evolution of communication networks inside vehicles is quickly reducing the capacity of current security measures.

    How many of us remember a time when car windows had to be cranked up and there were no seatbelts to secure us in case of an accident? A “secure vehicle” was one with locked doors.

    With the introduction of the Advanced Driver Assistant System (ADAS) — with ABS, airbag, brake control, steering control, engine control, cruise control, stop-and-go, autonomous parking, integrated navigation system (GPS and Gallileo) — there is no question that the ecosystem of the automobile is becoming more interconnected and increasingly complex, but electronic devices have also replaced more trivial functions like light control, air conditioning, power windows, engine starting, door opening, adjustable and heated seats… The list of available options goes on.

    Though progressing from a purely mechanical environment to the sophisticated universe of electronics has provided an added value in terms of comfort, as well as active and passive safety for driver and passengers, at the same time — because those engine control units (ECUs) are interconnected — significant security issues regarding privacy and data reliability arise.

    For example, some decades ago, CAN was not designed to be robust in terms of security. In fact, any CAN message inside the car communication bus was broadcast to any other component and did not support any authorization, authentication, or encryption protocol.

    Modern cars exchange messages using the CAN bus to open doors and start the engine. Those messages are swapped between an ECU inside the car and one inside an electronic key. If this system were compromised, a thief could easily steal the car. Also, a hacker could access the GPS inside the car to monitor frequent locations to find out where the driver is and when he leaves the car unattended.

    Furthermore, wireless communication channels such as Bluetooth, GPRS, or UMTS for Internet mobile functions like email, SMS, video streaming, video calls, and so on, have enlarged the “attack surfaces” for hackers who could compromise any communication and driving system, or insert malicious software to steal data like a vehicle’s position in real-time, frequently used routes, and full conversations, by remote access.

    By definition, an “open system” is exposed to a continuous increase of attacks through several methods. The incessant evolution of internal and external communication networks inside vehicles quickly reduces the capacity of current security measures to provide adequate protection for these systems.

    Until now, only theoretical proposals have been suggested to protect cars from internal and external attacks, and the possibility for hackers to control any driving system (brakes, ABS, airbags, navigation), thus risking the vehicle occupants’ lives, is more real than we have suspected.

    Those groups have proposed sophisticated software application models using cryptographic communication protocols, and also have proposed some very interesting guidelines, from a hardware point of view, to build more robust microcontrollers that can avoid illegal firmware alterations, unauthorized intrusions, and illicit misuse.

  36. Tomi Engdahl says:
    At last! Something else for smartwatches to do as BMW promises park-by-wristjob demo
    GPS-free parking proposed thanks to carpark plans baked into beemers

    Auto-maker BMW has announced a park-by-wristjob demo at January 2015′s CES electronics extravaganza.

    The company’s been footling about with sensor-laden vehicles for some time and says it now has a research model i3 packing four “advanced laser scanners” that can “reliably identify impediments such as columns, for example in a multi-storey car park.”

    BMW’s CES demo will show off that technology, which it thinks can make a car able to avoid collisions and potentially lead to autonomous driving.

  37. Tomi Engdahl says:
    White Paper Analyzes Infotainment Power Demands

    Technology have already brought the world to a whole new level where almost all systems are controlled remotely and things that are used to be done manually are now in an automatic mode. Entertainment is also now everywhere and even available at the very comfort of our own cars. Along with the growing usage of technology in automobiles is a great increase on power consumption in supplying these needs.

    Maxim Integrated Products, Inc. (NASDAQ: MXIM) has recently published the white paper, “Meeting Infotainment Power Demands,” which analyzes power demands for electronic radio head units, the central part of a vehicle’s user console and instrument cluster.

    While today’s automobiles are increasingly energy efficient, they have more electrical demands placed on them than ever before.

    The white paper covers the following key points:

    The automobile radio head unit in the console and instrument cluster is an increasingly crowded place supporting many electronic functions.
    Providing the various required DC power rails is a difficult challenge, with most designers resorting to a complicated, diverse mix of regulators.
    Ensuring that these regulators meet the stringent requirements for electrical, thermal, and EMI performance is a major design challenge.
    Maxim offers the MAX16993 and MAX16930, two highly integrated regulators with superior voltage, temperature, and EMI performance.

  38. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Circuit Protection Technology Overview for Automotive Applications

    Automobiles produced today have a longer life expectancy than at any time in the past. This is due, in part, to improvements in materials and design. One critical change has been the increase in electronic equipment and systems that have replaced mechanical devices. Without proper electrical protection, however, these electronic systems can fail without warning, leaving the consumer to wish for the “good ol’ days”.

    Designing electronics for the automotive environment is very challenging. Wide temperature swings must be anticipated. Most applications require the industrial temperature range of –40 to +85 °C. Under-hood applications can be even more extreme. Humidity can range from desert lows to swamp highs. Add in seaside salt mist, road salt, or just lots of time; and corrosion can affect the quality of electrical connections and electrical insulation. Shock and vibration must be taken into consideration, along with the possibility of pinch points occurring where wiring is run throughout the vehicle where there is relative motion of doors, seats, windows, mirrors, pedals, steering columns, etc.

  39. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Google will build Android Auto software directly into cars with Android M, no smartphone needed —

    Exclusive: Google aiming to go straight into car with next Android – sources

    Google Inc (GOOGL.O) is laying the groundwork for a version of Android that would be built directly into cars, sources said, allowing drivers to enjoy all the benefits of the Internet without even plugging in their smartphones.

    The move is a major step up from Google’s current Android Auto software, which comes with the latest version of its smartphone operating system and requires a phone to be plugged into a compatible car with a built-in screen to access streaming music, maps and other apps. The first such vehicles will debut in 2015.

  40. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Forget Google’s robot cars, now it’s on to ANDROID cars
    Next OS to come built into auto dashboards, sources claim

    Google is planning a big push into in-car infotainment systems with an upcoming version of Android, sources claim.

    “Android M” – the version to come after the current Android 5.0 “Lollipop” – will be available in a formulation designed specifically to run cars’ built-in screens, Reuters reports, citing anonymous insiders with knowledge of the plan.

    Google made its first advances toward the automotive world at its I/O developer conference earlier this year, when it unveiled its Android Auto software. The first Android Auto–compatible cars are expected to arrive early next year.

    But much like Apple’s CarPlay, Android Auto is an add-on system that lets you use your phone to control your car’s screens and stereo. No phone, no Android in your car.

    The forthcoming system, industry blabbermouths claim, is designed to be built into vehicles and to power their infotainment systems directly. The Android OS would be available every time the driver turns on the ignition.

  41. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Google reportedly planning to use Android in self-driving cars
    Android Auto already in development, say sources
    By Dave Neal

    GOOGLE, WHICH DOES SOMETHING ONLINE, is planning to put the Android operating system directly into cars, according to reports on Reuters.

    The news agency has some hush hush sources with ears close to the action and mouths close to the papers, and they say that the Android Auto project is already underway.

    Android, according to the whisper-blowers, will be embedded into cars to save people having to connect anything.

    “With embedded [Android] it’s always on, always there,” said one source. “You don’t have to depend on your phone being there and on.”

    Another, or perhaps the same, source, added: “You can get access to GPS location, where you stop, where you travel every day, your speed, your fuel level, where you stop for gas.”

    Exclusive: Google aiming to go straight into car with next Android – sources

    Google Inc is laying the groundwork for a version of Android that would be built directly into cars, sources said, allowing drivers to enjoy all the benefits of the Internet without even plugging in their smartphones.

    The move is a major step up from Google’s current Android Auto software, which comes with the latest version of its smartphone operating system and requires a phone to be plugged into a compatible car with a built-in screen to access streaming music, maps and other apps. The first such vehicles will debut in 2015.

    If successful, Android would become the standard system powering a car’s entertainment and navigation features, solidifying Google’s position in a new market where it is competing with arch-rival Apple Inc. Google could also potentially access the valuable trove of data collected by a vehicle.

    Technology companies are racing to design appliances, wristwatches and other gadgets that connect to the Internet. Automobiles are a particularly attractive prospect because Americans spend nearly 50 minutes per day on average on their commute, according to U.S. Census data.

    By building Android into a car, Google’s services would not be at risk of switching off when a smartphone battery runs out of power, for example.

    Automakers might also be wary of giving Google access to in-car components that could raise safety and liability concerns, and be reluctant to give Google such a prime spot in their vehicles.


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