Skip to Main Content



May 2, 2024

Simulation Strengthens Connections on the Road to Software-defined Vehicles

See how Aptiv and Infineon use Ansys tools to deliver the connected systems — and systems of systems — that make software-defined vehicles possible.

Characterizing today's vehicles as "computers or smartphones on wheels" is becoming a bit cliché in automotive circles these days. Yet, as e-mobility continues to evolve, the proliferation of advanced in-vehicle electronics and software applications across all the functional areas of our cars gives credence to these analogies.

Mostly, this shift is due to the popularity of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) technology and advancements in electrified and autonomous applications. All rely on multiple sensors to deliver safer, more seamless user experiences enhanced by connectivity and in-vehicle communication frameworks involving miles of circuitry and billions of lines of code.

Sound complicated? It really is. Thankfully, the shift to more simplified electrical/electronic (E/E) vehicle platforms is paving the way for increasingly seamless experiences behind the wheel.

In the latest episode of "Driven by Simulation," you'll see how automotive suppliers Aptiv and Infineon are using Ansys tools to develop software-defined vehicle tech. 

Watch the latest episode of the Driven by Simulation online docuseries.

Aptiv Relies on Ansys Tools to Set Vehicle Safety in Motion

So, what does the term software-defined vehicle (SDV) mean? An SDV reflects a significant shift in vehicle design, from hardware- to software-based operations — including the implementation of new functions and features through software. To keep up with these changes requires automotive suppliers like Aptiv to shift left, or test early and often in the development cycle to ensure their products are functioning as expected, safely.

To this end, Aptiv's ADAS platform is subject to ongoing improvement to grow its capabilities through continuous integration and deployment. It's also part of Aptiv's Smart Vehicle Architecture™ (SVA), a scalable approach to electrical and electronic systems that enables feature-rich, highly automated vehicles.

At the center of Aptiv's SVA is an open server platform, which functions as what Aptiv describes as the main "brain" of the vehicle where all the high-performance compute resides, and the central vehicle controller (CVC), or "little brain" of the vehicle that translates the commands coming from the brain.

Specifically, the CVC is a specialized computer responsible for numerous vehicle functions, and a key piece of architecture that translates software code into physical actions. It sorts the details of all the communicating signals among vehicle components, then abstracts functions as services to software applications to initiate these actions.

Lisa Savage, a functional safety lead in Aptiv's Global Product Organization (GPO), uses Ansys medini analyze safety analysis software during various phases of product development to assess the safety of all the ADAS and AD systems involved. The software helps Savage understand what the operational envelope of these safety-critical electrical and electronic and software-controlled systems should be, in step with current industry safety analysis methods and standards.  

"I use Ansys medini to do a lot of the analysis-type activities," says Savage. "So, starting out with hazard analysis and risk assessment, we use medini to enable our work there. But we also use it in the product development phase … (when) we're trying to identify what types of faults are going to lead to unwanted behaviors, (and) what types of conditions are going to lead to unwanted behaviors. And then once we have that, we can establish whatever safeguards we need to have in place."

Ansys Driven by Sim Episode 9 Stills

Lisa Savage, a functional safety lead at Aptiv, performs safety analyses using Ansys software.

Antenna Optimization Signals What's Ahead

Aptiv also uses simulation to track product behaviors over time — during vehicle operation — to understand and anticipate scenarios or edge cases the team hasn't already planned for. These edge cases represent unforeseen risk on the road, yet often happen in isolation from each other, which makes them difficult to catalog.

For Aptiv, this activity includes analysis of high-frequency electromagnetic devices like antennas. Antennas, embedded in radar sensors, are used to transmit signals that reflect off objects and then receive those signals back.  

Simulation helps Aptiv put the performance of high-frequency applications like these to the test.

"We work in high frequency, like 77GHz ,” says Roshin George, senior antenna designer at Aptiv. "So, designing something or trying out prototypes at these frequencies (is) very cumbersome I would say, or close to impossible. I don't think it would be possible for our project to (be completed) in a certain time frame if we don't have simulation tools. That's very important."

To achieve full autonomy in the future will require capturing massive amounts of data from edge cases like these over thousands of miles — something that would be next to impossible in the real world. Working within a simulation environment enables the team to run hundreds of simulations to evaluate multiple known and unknown variables in minutes, saving the trouble (and drive time) involved in measuring these prototypes on the road.

Ansys Driven by Sim Episode 9 Stills

The Aptiv SVA "skateboard" is used to demonstrate many of the company's technologies.

For Infineon, Simulation is Electrifying

Electric vehicles (EVs) represent another major inflection point in SDV development. E-mobility platforms employ the Internet of Things (IoT) to solve operational challenges. The IoT uses physical objects that are network-connected, data-exchange capable, and enabled by integrated software, sensors, and other technologies.

Just about every aspect of an EV, from the drivetrain to the seat adjusters, is loaded with sensors communicating with a central control unit to relegate vehicle function. Infineon, a market leader in power systems and IoT, relies on Ansys' multiphysics ecosystem to sort through the development complexity of these systems and optimize the capabilities of various products. In doing so, Infineon hopes to make them more accessible to customers.

Sijia Zhang, application management, High-Voltage Traction Inverters for Electric Vehicles, Automotive, Infineon Technologies AG, uses simulation to analyze traction inverters responsible for the DC-to-AC power conversions from the battery to the electric motor that set an EV in motion. Interactions like these are vulnerable to thermal effects, which is where simulation becomes extremely helpful.

Similarly, Ansys software is invaluable in the assessment of EV power module integrity subject to high temperatures. Power modules are essentially groupings of battery cells assembled into battery packs. Thermal management of these modules is important to ensuring optimal pack efficiency and performance — both of which impact vehicle driving range, or how far an EV can go on a single charge.

"We need to know precisely what the temperature is inside our power module and what the temperature outside the power module is in terms of cooling concept, because the higher the temperature you go, the higher the performance," says Zhang. "… We're now in the development — and close to the ending of that development — of our next-generation silicon carbide product power module, and compared to the previous generation, we increased the peak temperature by 25 degrees. That's a lot, and that's through the better and precise understanding from a dependable simulator, which in this case is Ansys."

Ansys Driven by Sim Episode 9 Customer

Sijia Zhang, application management, High-Voltage Traction Inverters for Electric Vehicles, Automotive, Infineon Technologies AG

Don’t Miss Our Final Episode

As you’re watching the latest episode of “Driven by Simulation,” be sure to click the notification button so you’ll know when the last installment of our online docuseries premieres. During Episode 10, you'll hear how the Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team uses simulation to optimize e-powertrain performance before, during, and after a race. Plus, UGRacing will also share how they're using Ansys tools to win University of Glasgow’s Formula Student competitions.

See What Ansys Can Do For You

Contact us today

* = Required Field

Thank you for reaching out!

We’re here to answer your questions and look forward to speaking with you. A member of our Ansys sales team will contact you shortly.

Footer Image