Faced with growing fuel costs and environmental concerns, vehicle manufacturers must re-engineer all vehicle systems — from aerodynamics, engine and transmission to vehicle body, passenger comfort systems and electrical and electronic systems.
They must also develop viable designs for radically different powertrains of hybrid and electric vehicles by continuing to advance complex new technologies such as batteries and electric traction motors.
Driven to Innovate
With today’s modular and feature-rich vehicles, suppliers play a large role in innovation and product development. Ambitious fuel-efficiency and emission-reduction goals are cascaded down to suppliers, who also make sure that complex electronics and embedded systems don’t cause unexpected catastrophic failure modes.
Heavy trucks and off-highway vehicles are subject to tightening pollutant emission norms,.and the market demands fuel efficiency. Simultaneously, off-road vehicle manufacturers are adding sophisticated electronic devices for applications such as automating agricultural tasks.
Because of their competitive nature, motorsports are the testing grounds for pioneering automotive technologies. Hybrid and electric drives for race cars pose engineering challenges along with the opportunity to lead the pack. Furthermore, motorsports regulations have tightened the use of wind tunnel testing and virtual simulation.
Ambitious government regulations and strong customer demand for higher-mileage vehicles push car and truck makers to find and exploit every opportunity to make designs fuel efficient. All systems are on the table for re-engineering — body, interior, chassis, electrical, and electronics and powertrain.
Strong customer demand and governmental push for higher mileage, greener vehicles means that car and truck makers have to develop and deploy hybrid and electric powertrains for more and more vehicle platforms. The race for electrification is on and companies that bring viable hybrid and electric powertrains to market first will dominate the future automotive market.
Advanced electronics and embedded systems are standard features in today’s vehicles, making cars more efficient, safe, comfortable and fun. Paradigm changing innovations such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicles are just a few years from production.