Thought Leadership

The importance of electronics devices to autonomous vehicles – The Future Car Podcast

By Conor Peick

In a new episode of the Future Car Podcast, Nand Kochhar, VP of Automotive and Transportation Industries, and I (Conor Peick, Thought Leadership team Writer) continue our series of conversations on autonomous vehicles and how they will shape the future of mobility. While many details about AVs are uncertain at this time, it’s clear that they will require a significant amount of extremely advanced electronics hardware to operate. Specific numbers may range, but many experts expect an autonomous vehicle will require around 30 advanced sensors and immense processing capabilities to safely navigate a complex and dynamic driving environment.

AVs will require a constellation of advanced technologies and engineering domains to achieve true self-driving capabilities. This includes mechanical, electrical, and electronic systems as well as embedded software, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and communications networks all working together to deliver self-driving functionality. In an AV, these domains intersect to a greater degree than they have previously, ensuring that no system within the vehicle is truly independent.

Autonomous vehicles will require many advanced components and technologies, including cutting edge semiconductor devices.

A lane-keep assist system, for example, requires sensors, processors, and software to perceive road lines and calculate vehicle trajectory before activating mechatronic components in the steering system to exert control over the vehicle. Yet, even the most advanced systems available today only achieve level 3 self-driving capabilities (Figure 1). While a level 3 system may require the human driver to take control under certain circumstances, a level 4 system must always exert total control over the vehicle, though only within its specified operational conditions. So how do companies account for such a huge increase in complexity, power, and data in a vehicle network? And what implications do the requirements of an AV have on the design and development of these sensor and processing devices?

To help us dive into the world of sensors, processors, and all things electronics, we are joined by Alan Porter, Vice President of the Electronics and Semiconductors Industry at Siemens Digital Industries Software. Alan is an industry veteran with experience in the electronics design automation (EDA) business and as a Senior Design Engineering Manager at Apple. Nand and I enjoyed asking Alan a range of questions on the progress of electronics and semiconductor devices in automotive applications, the design considerations automotive and chip teams face, and why automotive companies continue to move into the chip design space.

You can listen to our entire conversation with Alan over on the Future Car Podcast blog!

Siemens Xcelerator, the comprehensive and integrated portfolio of software and services from Siemens Digital Industries Software, helps companies of all sizes create and leverage a comprehensive digital twin that provides organizations with new insights, opportunities and levels of automation to drive innovation.

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