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AUTO

ELECTRONICS

24 project partners to cooperate over a four- year period in developing solutions for safe and smooth-flowing traffic. The agenda in- cluded traffic management, navigation aids and driver assistance systems. Siemens inves- tigated ways of improving safety for pedestri- ans, for example. Here, the researchers devel- oped a sensor system for car bumpers that registers pedestrian contact with a vehicle and then raises the engine compartment hood a few centimeters in a fraction of a sec- ond. The system is designed to prevent head injuries caused by striking the engine block. The system is expected to be in production in 2007.

Sensors on Wheels. “Sensors will also be in- side our cars,” Kölzer says. Improved tempera- ture and air quality sensors, for instance, will further improve comfort (see p. 50). And in stead of using ozone-killing fluorocarbon gas, tomorrow’s cars will increasingly use carbon d i o x i d e ( C O 2 ) a s a c o o l a n t f o r a i r c o n d i t i o n i n g

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systems. If such systems release minute quan- t i t i e s o f C O 2 , d r i v e r s c o u l d f e e l f a t i g u e d . B u gas sensors could detect the danger in ad- vance. What’s more, Kölzer is convinced that systems for monitoring drivers themselves will hit the market before long. “It would be possible to measure a driver’s stress level, for example,” he says. The technology could then inform the driver and turn down the radio, for instance, or reduce the number of display el- ements in the instrument cluster. Another possibility is a warning system that monitors drivers’ eyelid movements and warns them if they are becoming drowsy. This technology emerged from Awake, a EU project, in which Siemens participated. The project was com- pleted in late 2004. t

Experts agree that assistance systems must not infringe on the driver’s autonomy or diminish driving enjoyment. “First, the driver has to be aware of impending danger and be given a clear warning,” emphasizes Schlick. “Drivers must always be able to override any of a car’s independent responses.” Adds Kölzer: “If not, manufacturers would have enormous liability problems.“

Kölzer also points out that sensors and cal- culation algorithms will not be able to evalu- ate situations the way a person does in the foreseeable future. “Drivers will still have to use their intelligence,” Schlick says. “Ulti- mately, they will still be responsible.” In cases where the driver can’t control a vehicle, how- ever, a computer will intervene — for exam- ple with ESP stability control, which applies the brakes to the wheels individually in order to prevent over-steering.

“Drivers must always be able to override any of a car’s independent responses. Ultimately, they will still be responsible.”

THE FUTURE OF THE AUTOMOBILE — IN 2020

2000 – 2030

2000 – 2050

Total

1.6%

1.7%

Africa

1.9%

2.1%

Latin America

2.8%

2.9%

Middle East

1.9%

1.8%

India

2.1%

2.3%

other Asia

1.7%

1.9%

China

3.0%

3.0%

Eastern Europe

1.6%

1.8%

Former Soviet Union

2.2%

2.0%

OECD Pacific

0.7%

0.7%

OECD Europe

1.0%

0.8%

OECD North America

1.2%

1.1%

Average Annual Growth Rates

2050

Trillions (1012) of passenger-kilometers/year 80

2040

2030

2020

70 60 50 40 30 20 10

0 2000

2010

In 15 years there will be even more vehicle types than today. They will be needed in order to satisfy customers’ different needs. Countries such as India and China need inexpensive, safe ve- hicles, for example — as do the growing numbers of immigrants settling in the United States. The industrialized countries are increasingly becoming “graying societies,” on the other hand, which boosts demand for comfortable, more expensive cars. Scarcity of natural resources necessitates building smaller cars that are ideal for short trips. These are among the results of the “Future of Automotive” study, which was conducted under the leadership of Dr. Jochen Kölzer (Siemens Cor- porate Technology) and Roger Deckers (Siemens VDO). To ensure the most stable basis possible for Siemens VDO’s business strategy, the team took part in numerous workshops and interviews with international experts to gain insights into what automotive technology will be like in the year 2020. The technology scenario approach used in Pictures of the Future was helpful in this search for most important trends, biggest challenges and most important markets, and the team mem- bers also included external factors such as oil prices, demographics and economic growth. Their conclusions also show that personal transportation will continue to be a major priority, despite the high price of oil. Automotive traffic worldwide will also increase significantly (see graph). Thanks to electronics and optimized components, however, fuel consumption and emissions will be re- duced further. Hybrid vehicles and hydrogen-powered cars will play a more important role. In 15 years, the mechanical parts and hydraulics used today for braking and steering will be partially replaced by “x-by-wire” systems. But one thing won’t change: Even the car of the future will be driven on roads. Flying cars still belong to the realm of science fiction.

Source: World Business Council for Sustainable Development, 2004

Improved Electronics. Lately, more and more customers have been complaining about vehicle breakdowns caused by elec- tronic faults. Statistics show, however, that today’s cars are much more reliable than those of 30 years ago. According to the Ger- man automobile club (ADAC), the probability of a breakdown with a new vehicle within its first six years of use has fallen from 3.5 per- cent in 1976 to 0.6 percent today.

But if the past was characterized by break- downs resulted from leaky fuel lines or other mechanical defects, today the causes are pri- marily found in electronic system faults. From 1990 to 2001, the share of a vehicle’s com- ponents represented by electronic systems in- creased from 16 percent to about 25 percent; and by 2010 that figure is expected to climb to 40 percent.

“So the solution to our problems with elec- tronics is more electronics — but even better electronics,” concludes SV’s Deckers. The key here is standardization of components, thus allowing individual software modules to talk with one another and avoid misunderstand- ings. With this in mind, Siemens is a founding member of the AUTOSAR consortium (see p. 59), an organization that is setting the stage for standardized software component interfaces, thus opening the door to afford- able updates and re-use of proven modules.

View from tomorrow’s driver’s seat. Modular design allows adjustments tailored to the driver’s needs.

As this process of standardization is imple- mented, drivers will increasingly be able to “fill up” their cars with software “even after they’ve left the production plant,” explains Deckers.

In addition to making cars safer, electronic systems are also expected to make them more environmentally friendly. On this front, Siemens VDO is engaged in many projects for reducing fuel consumption. And some of the results are already on the market, including precise fuel management with piezo direct in- jection (see p. 102), and engine systems that use sensors to monitor and optimize processes right in the combustion chamber or that are designed to alternate between natu- ral gas and gasoline fuel supplies.

“We’re also working on a modular system for hybrid drives,” reports Deckers. Compo- nents include motors for fully electric starts and integrated starter generators that convert mechanical drivetrain energy into electricity, and vice versa. It’s difficult to precisely calcu- late the resulting fuel savings, because values vary from vehicle to vehicle. “In the last 15 years, the average fuel consumption of new vehicles overall has been reduced by more than 20 percent —- mostly thanks to elec-

tronics,” says Deckers. Furthermore, emis- sions of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides have fallen by 95 percent since 1990.

Electronic systems are largely invisible to drivers, and are evident only in displays and infotainment systems. But it’s these interfaces that have become particularly crucial to driv- ers’ overall relationship with their cars. “Here it’s all about people’s feelings,” says Deckers. “Drivers have to like their cars, and whether they do so is determined to a large extent by what they see and feel.” That’s why Siemens VDO is designing control elements that are easy to understand and operate. It’s the best way to ensure that drivers will accept and like using new safety and assistance systems. And it explains why development teams include experts in user-friendliness and ergonomics. According to Schlick, it all adds up to good news for drivers. “When you get in a car, you want the controls to be intuitive,” he says. “That means cars should be practical and of- fer concrete benefits. They shouldn’t be p a c k e d w i t h e v e r y p o s s i b l e t e c h n o l o g y . N o r b e r t A s c h e n b r e n n e r

A PROGRAM THAT SAVES FUEL WITH SMART FEEDBACK

With fuel prices on the rise, growing num- bers of drivers are see- ing the value of adopt- ing an economical driv- ing style. In Toulouse, France, Siemens VDO is coordinating the Gerico project, which is funded by France’s Ministry of the Environment. The project’s goal is to pro- vide an information sys- tem that will encourage motorists to drive eco- nomically. This involves using software that ana- lyzes data from an on- board computer and shows the latest fuel consumption values and CO2 emissions on a dis- play. “The data display alone has an effect on drivers’ behavior behind the wheel,” says Dr. Mariano Sans, who heads the project for Siemens (pictured working on a test vehicle). The system also links the engine control system with data from the navigation system, which makes it possible to calculate optimal speed and acceleration profiles. An automatic transmission, for example, could avoid unnecessary gear shifting when a sharp curve or a steep decline is directly ahead. “Our simulations indicate poten- tial fuel savings of at least ten percent,” says Sans. The results of the project are expected to be released in late 2005. It will take at least three years before the software becomes commercially available. “Gerico is particularly well-suited for vehicle fleets,” Sans explains. Logistics companies and municipal transportation operators could use it to achieve significant savings. In addition to other partners, including the IERSET research association, the City of Toulouse is also participating in the project.

Pictures of the Future | Fall 2005

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