With the advent of technology, particularly in the domain of Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence, vehicles and automotive systems have become "smarter".
Cruise control, collision detectors, navigation systems, and several other such devices are implemented in private and commercial vehicles today. Such features are meant to aid the driver in getting better control of the vehicle, to increase security, or to use the data for analysis. These tools, technologies, and processes are collectively called automotive embedded systems.
For example, the cruise control automatically drives the car at a constant specified speed without the driver's intervention. The traffic sign recognition feature can detect the speed limit of the zone you are in and adjusts the vehicle speed accordingly. High-end vehicles today use over 100 such tools implemented using Electronic Control Units (ECUs) that transmit 3000-5000 communication signals.
Most of the ECUs found in vehicles today can be broadly classified into six categories.
The domain of automotive embedded systems is relatively new in automotive engineering, and here are some of the trends you can notice in the industry today.
As mentioned earlier, many vehicle manufacturers are shifting to hybrid or electric vehicles to reduce pollution and use alternative vehicular fuels. Such vehicles will have a modified engine that brings in further challenges like battery storage and energy optimization.
Apart from the integrated digital cockpit, the other features that are being developed in the HMI category are gesture or voice-based controls (tuned to handle local languages and accents as well) and virtual assistants.
With an incline in the use of digital and electronic tools, there is also a higher rate of cybercrime. In the case of automobiles, safety systems must be kept in place so that hackers cannot take remote control of your vehicle through the ECUs. Driver monitoring systems and vehicle health monitoring systems are other recent developments, especially for commercial vehicles.
Some devices scan the driver's eyes for signs of abnormal behavior like drunken driving or fatigue and other tools that track engine parameters and usage to predict when the vehicle must be serviced next. Similarly, devices that track how a driver uses a car can help them get cheaper insurance policies based on the actual distance driven.
Telematics and IoT devices help companies like Uber and logistics businesses track their fleet across locations. Vehicle tracking, along with GPS technology, can help fleet managers route their vehicles optimally to avoid traffic or deliver the goods in the shortest time.
Truck platooning is another feature that has picked up relevance recently. Here, if several trucks or vehicles are travelling on the same route, only the first truck communicates with the outside world while all the trucks that follow only talk to the first truck, creating a chain of trucks, interspersed in one long line.
Some of the futuristic trends that will be embedded in automobiles in the future are:
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