ELECTRONIC-SYSTEM DESIGN IN THE AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY
ELECTRONIC COMPONENTS ARE NOW ESSENTIAL TO CONTROL A CAR’S
MOVEMENTS AND CHEMICAL, MECHANICAL, AND ELECTRICAL PROCESSES;
TO PROVIDE ENTERTAINMENT AND COMMUNICATION; AND TO ENSURE
SAFETY. A NEW, PLATFORM-BASED METHODOLOGY CAN REVOLUTIONIZE THE
WAY A CAR IS DESIGNED.
With the advent of highly powerful microprocessors, the explosion of wireless communication, and the development of new generations of integrated sensors and actua- tors, the way electronic products are con- ceived, designed, and implemented has undergone a revolution. In addition, the elec- tronics industry is undergoing a major restruc- turing that favors horizontal integration and vertical disintegration. In this framework, col- laboration among different industry segments is essential to bringing new products to mar- ket. In particular, system companies are shift- ing electronic-component research and development costs to semiconductor compa- nies, which therefore must significantly increase their system design competence. Recent International Business Strategies mar- ket studies show that more than 50 percent of design activities that move to the 0.09-micron technology node will be in software.1 Thus, the semiconductor design problem becomes a system solution problem.
parts such as injectors and throttle bodies. These subsystems contain ICs from second- tier suppliers such as Motorola, Texas Instru- ments, Hitachi, and ST Microelectronics. They also contain intellectual property (IP) from various second-tier suppliers such as the WindRiver and ETAS software companies. In general, the subsystem volumes are large, cost being a major driving force.
Once car manufacturers receive the subsys- tems, they must integrate them in the car and then test the overall system. If they detect errors through extensive testing, which includes driving under extreme conditions, they initiate a chain of engineering changes that often causes major delays in the design process. The problems are traceable to soft- ware errors, misunderstanding of the specifi- cations, and unpredictable side effects of interconnecting the subsystems. This design process loop is particularly painful because it occurs when the car is almost ready for its market launch.
Today, European automobile manufactur- ers provide specifications to first-tier subsys- tem suppliers such as Bosch, Siemens, and Magneti-Marelli, which design software and hardware subsystems that include mechanical
Car manufacturers increasingly realize the importance of electronics in their business. According to Daimler-Chrysler sources, more than 90 percent of the innovation (and hence value added) in a car is in electronics. Accord-
Vincentelli University of California at
Published by the IEEE Computer Society
0272-1732/03/$17.00 2003 IEEE