As Cars Collect More Data, Companies Try to Move It All Faster

Cars need to get faster — not on the road, but on the inside.

Speed has always been part of the mystique of the automotive business. But cars have been notoriously slow when it comes to handling information. It is a problem that has only become more pressing as the era of autonomous vehicles looms, with competing interests racing to be the first with a solution.

Cars have long relied on a relatively simple network standard called the CAN or Controller Area Network bus. The CAN bus coordinates all the microprocessors and electronic control units, or E.C.U.s, that need to trade engine, powertrain, and diagnostic information, transmitting details like transmission status and fluid levels. As more electronics like window and seat controls were added to cars, the CAN bus was tweaked over the years with additional local interconnection networks, or LINs, to handle the swelling communications load.

But the CAN bus, which was originally developed by Bosch more than 33 years ago, is showing its age.

New advanced driver assistance systems like automatic emergency braking, electronic stability control and lane-keeping assistance demand instant communications. So automakers have been supplementing their networks, adding 100 megabit per second (Mbps) Ethernet cabling, for example, to the rat’s nest of wiring inside vehicles.

“But when every new feature gets added, you add a new E.C.U. and a new layer of wiring,” said Jack Weast, the chief systems architect for autonomous driving solutions at Intel. That approach is inefficient, expensive, heavy — and still slow. “So from a connectivity point of view there’s a need to re-architect the vehicle from the inside out,” Mr. Weast said.

Underscoring the urgency for a new high-speed network in cars is the coming wave of autonomous driving systems. Read Full Article..

Source: NY Times

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