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ELECTRONIC-SYSTEM DESIGN IN THE AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY

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8With the advent of highly powerfulmicroprocessors, the explosion of wirelesscommunication, and the development of newgenerations of integrated sensors and actua-tors, the way electronic products are con-ceived, designed, and implemented hasundergone a revolution. In addition, the elec-tronics industry is undergoing a major restruc-turing that favors horizontal integration andvertical disintegration. In this framework, col-laboration among different industry segmentsis essential to bringing new products to mar-ket. In particular, system companies are shift-ing electronic-component research anddevelopment costs to semiconductor compa-nies, which therefore must significantlyincrease their system design competence.Recent International Business Strategies mar-ket studies show that more than 50 percent ofdesign activities that move to the 0.09-microntechnology node will be in software.1Thus,the semiconductor design problem becomes asystem solution problem.Today, European automobile manufactur-ers provide specifications to first-tier subsys-tem suppliers such as Bosch, Siemens, andMagneti-Marelli, which design software andhardware subsystems that include mechanicalparts 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 theWindRiver and ETAS software companies. Ingeneral, the subsystem volumes are large, costbeing a major driving force.Once car manufacturers receive the subsys-tems, they must integrate them in the car andthen test the overall system. If they detecterrors through extensive testing, whichincludes driving under extreme conditions,they initiate a chain of engineering changesthat often causes major delays in the designprocess. The problems are traceable to soft-ware errors, misunderstanding of the specifi-cations, and unpredictable side effects ofinterconnecting the subsystems. This designprocess loop is particularly painful because itoccurs when the car is almost ready for itsmarket launch.Car manufacturers increasingly realize theimportance of electronics in their business.According to Daimler-Chrysler sources, morethan 90 percent of the innovation (and hencevalue added) in a car is in electronics. Accord-Alberto Sangiovanni-VincentelliUniversity of California atBerkeleyELECTRONIC COMPONENTS ARE NOW ESSENTIAL TO CONTROL A CAR’SMOVEMENTS AND CHEMICAL, MECHANICAL, AND ELECTRICAL PROCESSES;TO PROVIDE ENTERTAINMENT AND COMMUNICATION; AND TO ENSURESAFETY. A NEW, PLATFORM-BASED METHODOLOGY CAN REVOLUTIONIZE THEWAY A CAR IS DESIGNED.ELECTRONIC-SYSTEMDESIGN INTHEAUTOMOBILEINDUSTRYPublished by the IEEE Computer Society 0272-1732/03/$17.00  2003 IEEEing to BMW, electronic components comprisemore than 30 percent of a car’s manufacturingcost. The trend in the car manufacturingindustry is to acquire more in-house elec-tronics competence to capture added valuethat previously went to subsystem suppliers.The strategy calls for software and hardwarestandards that will facilitate plug-and-playsubsystems, reducing the strategic importanceof any single subsystem supplier. The OffeneSysteme und deren Schnittstellen für die Elek-tronik im Kraftfahrzeug (open systems andcorresponding interfaces for automotive elec-tronics), or OSEK, operating system require-ments are an example of this policy.2Clearly,however, without an overall understanding ofthe interplay of subsystems and the difficul-ties of integrating highly complex parts, sys-tem integration is increasingly a nightmare forcar manufacturers. In addition, subsystemsuppliers are trying to enlarge their perimeterof competence to capture more added value.Automobile electronics comprises threebasic domains:• power train management—for example,electronic control units (ECUs) that con-trol ignition timing and the amount offuel injected into the cylinders;• body electronics—for example, ECUsthat control dashboard displays, suspen-sion settings, and temperature; and• information processing, communicationwith the outside world, and entertain-ment (often called the telematics or info-tainment system).The first domain is typical of any trans-portation system and is characterized by tightsafety and efficiency constraints. Its core com-petence is control algorithms, along with soft-ware and mechanical-electrical hardwaredesign and implementation.The body control domain involves themanagement of a distributed system thatincreasingly resembles a network with proto-cols likely to have different requirements thanstandard communication protocols. Guaran-teed services are the essence of this domain.A car’s infotainment system is the productof industrial domains that are progressing inthe technology race at a faster rate than theautomotive domain. This domain can reapthe most short- to medium-term profits. Cus-tomers now often base buying decisions onthe infotainment environment more thanengine performance and handling. Hence, thequestion arises: What will constitute a carcompany’s core competence? Will the elec-tronic components be the car and themechanical components an accessory?For car manufacturers, system design is def-initely the most important technology theymust master to improve the quality andincrease the value of their cars’ electronic com-ponents. Designers of automotive electronicsystems need a methodology that focuses ontwo main principles: separation of concernsand platform-based design.Electronic-system design issuesTo support the electronic-design chain, sys-tem designers in the automobile industrymust establish a new design flow. Clean inter-faces and unambiguous specifications areessential parts of this design flow. In addition,the design flow must address the thorny issueof IP protection. This is even more importantin the automotive domain than in otherindustrial segments because the automotive-supplier chain is deeper.The following issues are likely to determinethe preferred approaches to the design andimplementation of complex embedded sys-tems in the automotive domain (and others):Reuse. Design time and cost will dominate sys-tem designers’ decision-making process.Therefore, design reuse of all kinds, as well asjust-in-time, low-cost design debugging tech-niques, will be highly important. Design flex-ibility is essential to mapping an ever-growingfunctionality onto a continuously evolving setof associated


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