Embedded Electronics Technology in Automobiles

As automobiles become increasingly user-independent and ‘intelligent,’ the demand for embedded electronic devices for use in cars is steadily increasing. This was indicated by increased demand for printed card buses (PCBs) that were destined for use as embedded devices in automobiles. PCB production rose in several parts of Europe, and experts in the industry are predicting moderate growth worldwide in the near future.

Embedded systems, because of their small size, low power consumption and rapid response rates have become valuable to the automotive industry as parts of safety components, sensors and on-board computers.

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Virtual Mechanisms Powered by Embedded Systems

Car manufacturer, Porsche, in cooperation with dSPACE of Germany, has developed an electronics system that simulates the forces at work when one shifts gears. The shift force simulator simulates the normal operating conditions of a car from a driver’s perspective. Available inputs include the gear stick and pedals. Data from those input methods are then fed into a computer, which calculates the appropriate type and amount of feedback to the user.

Porsche’s shift force simulator aims to give developers better testing facilities before a prototype is designed and fabricated. The fabrication of a prototype was necessary in previous cases in order to fully test the effectiveness of a gear shift design. The model is equipped with a dSPACE- manufactured Controller board. The software systems are designed primarily by Porsche.

Intelligent Cars

Germany-based Volkswagen publicly released news about their new Golf GTI 53+1 automobile which is capable of autonomously driving itself along a known or preprogrammed course. According to Volkswagen representatives, the designation pays homage to movie star car Herbie, a self-driving Volkswagen Beetle emblazoned with the number 53 on its hood.

This “intelligent’ automobile from Volkswagen uses radar and laser sensors concealed in its front grilles to detect the path and the road in front of it. The information from the front sensors is fed into the vehicle’s on-board computer, which coordinates with a global positioning system to pinpoint its precise location.

This automobile is also equipped with a MicroAutoBox from dSPACE and acts as the vehicle’s electronic control unit. The MicroAutoBox uses several programs and applications to receive and interpret data, determine the best path for the car and then send instructions on to different car components.

This Volkswagen vehicle, however, cannot navigate on its own and must be ‘taught’ a course for it to successfully drive around an area. At present, it is being used to test electronic systems and other automotive components that Volkswagen intends to install in their vehicles.

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