Irvine, Calif. -- Back-up cameras seem almost quaint today, even though the technology is just moving into the mainstream automotive market.
That's because there's a sense that technology is catching fire really quickly in automotive design, and not just at the high end. But what does this mean along the supply chain? We know automotive electronics is a red-hot market right now, but the standards and the technology requirements are changing quickly.
On the Drive for Innovation, we wanted to check the pulse of this segment, so we punched in the latitude and longitude for Broadcom and headed there.
We convened a panel of automotive experts to get their perspective on what's going on in the industry. Two big takeaways on open standards:
They are helping quicken the pace of automotive innovation.
At the same time, they are giving OEMs and car manufacturers an opportunity to move their R&D dollars into new and exciting areas.
The 34-minute panel -- featuring Ali Abaye, Richard Barrett, Yongbum Kim, and Tim Lau -- is embedded below, but what follows in the text are some highlights with links to the segments within the videotaped panel where they expounded on an idea or question. The complete panel session is embedded below.
First off was our discussion of Ethernet, which is rapidly becoming the de facto networking backbone in automotive designs. This has implications not only for reducing cabling weight in an automotive design but allowing design engineers to leverage the standard to plug in Ethernet-ready services inside the car, according to Abaye (1:29 to 6:50), who is senior director of marketing and networking infrastructure.
The question arises, then, is this the type of solution, given the relative low cost of an established technology such as Ethernet, that might get proliferated quickly from high to low-end vehicles? (6:55)
We then asked Barrett, who is product marketing director for wireless connectivity in the automotive sector, what trends he was seeing. The biggie? Wireless LAN leveraging the smartphone as the control device, Barrett said (starts at 9:21 and runs to 14:42).
Passive to active safety
In fact, if you take into consideration that the automotive design cycle is five to seven years, engineers at this very moment are designing driverless car systems that will be introduced in model years at the end of the decade, according to Kim, who is senior technical director at Broadcom for automotive (17:00 to 20:00).
Lau, senior product line manager for automotive Ethernet, dove into existing designs that are happening now especially the shift from passive safety to active safety (20:01 to 21:25). In fact, at a higher level, the automotive industry is about to enter a period of explosive innovation, according to Lau (starts at 22:18).
Perhaps the biggest impact we will see in the coming years is how the adoption of technologies such as WiFi and Ethernet will free car makers to focus their R&D in other more pressing areas, Abaye said (starts at 26:24). But all this automotive electronics innovation may have a downside for drivers, according to Kim, who acknowledges that he loves to drive. He helped close our panel with a funny observation: (Starts at 32:31).
@pocharle, OK, try this scenario: Would you worry more about the driverless vehicle in the next lane or the 70-year-old grandmother/father texting while driving next to you (which my brother witnessed yesterday)...?
I know I'm lazy sometimes, but I get nervous about the other drivers on the road. I can't imagine the panic I'd face knowing I'm not actually 'driving' the car and it's me that's being taken for a ride.
I believe mass market driverless cars are the way of the future but I shudder to think what the equivalent of the big blue screen will be in this multi dimensional car-human system? I guess the fail safe will be the mother of all traffic jams. Can you imagine the LA freeway in rush hour when the system malfunctions and just like every system ever invented.....it will fail at some point.
I think the best part about these driver-less cars is their ability to communicate with each other and be able to coordinate about the traffic situation and other variables. This is something that's extremely hard to achieve with manual drivers.
Yes, I'll think the driverless systems will be far safer and smoother than human-driven cars. Ideally, when all cars are networked, it will be an amazing system, but even well before that it'll be efficient and safe.
The automotive elctronics definitely holds a great promise for the elctronic supply chain no doubt
Just on a funnier side , I am imagining a picture where on the ever crowded roads in almost every city in the world , how will these driverless cars fare? Will their computers be able to manuver their vehicles through the maze of the vehicles in front of them by cutting lanes na dsuch other tricks that the seasoned drivers do with ease?
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.