Automobiles have come a long way since their beginning in the late 19th century. One of the major things that has helped automobiles to provide more safety and convenience, though, is electronics. The growing demand of electronic generation for navigation, safety, comfort, and infotainment content in commercial vehicles has the need for solutions that simplify electrical distribution systems and enable a feature-rich environment. Raising the bar on practicality, connectivity, and comfort in commercial vehicles makes good business sense. With the advances in technology and
electronics, vehicle manufacturers in general and car manufacturers in particular have been able to offer a wide variety of services and conveniences that many new automobile owners appreciate viz., from the creation of the electronic fuel injection to the popular Global Positioning System (GPS) found standard in many vehicles of today.
Many drivers and operators are accustomed to 24/7 connectivity to the internet for on-demand communication with family, friends, and their employers.
Electronics allow all of today’s automobiles to be more efficient, cleaner, safer, and better performing than the vehicles in the past. Electronics in vehicles solutions provide rugged integrated vehicle electronics (vetronics) systems that match the needs of client-specific vehicle platform requirements. Vehicle manufacturers are strategically incorporating electronics as business tools and for user functionality and appeal. Addressing design and engineering issues, leading electronics companies and vehicle manufacturers are increasingly leveraging expertise from each other and adapting the latest advanced technologies developed for use in transportation applications. Electronic manufacturers have seen a boost in demand for high-speed wiring, connectors, cable assemblies, switches, and other electronic technologies to enable the latest in-vehicle, content-rich mobile applications in commercial equipment and vehicles. Industry demand has spurred development of new components to simplify engineering and meet the electrical and electronic requirements of the connected commercial vehicle segment. Vehicle manufacturers have a broad range of innovative and proven electronics on-dash solutions at their disposal along with many off-dash digital products. In terms of technology trends, three primary digital links are emerging in the connected vehicle segment—consumer access ports, video (port-to-port), and in-vehicle networking (peer-to-peer). Advanced vetronics products at the hub vehicle platforms are serving as the digital brains and provide the hardware and software interfaces necessary to operate the vehicle’s mobility system including propulsion, steering, and self-protection, and inter-vehicle communication.
On- and off-highway applications require the ability to communicate with the back office to help track and regulate vehicle behavior. Telematics integration tools such as GPS locators, tracking software, and other communication devices help business owners run their operations under strict parameters while better understanding real-time issues in the field of transportation. Electronics allow all of today’s automobiles to be more efficient, cleaner, safer, and better performing than the vehicles in the past. A large variety of sturdy deployed electronic systems development expertise enables to provide vertronics solutions with reduced size, weight and power. Time has seen the migration in the use of electronics equipments from luxury automobiles to economy class and commercial vehicles. A decade ago, electrical components represented about 10% of the overall cost for commercial vehicles. Today, electronics represent approximately 35% of vehicle component cost. The transportation industry is starting to recognize a trend whereby features and conveniences commonly found in personal vehicles are steadily migrating into commercial vehicles, including audio and video infotainment, security and safety cameras, smart phones, and power and data connectivity for mobile laptops, netbooks, and smartphones. The field of computer diagnostics has also helped to shape the way that automobile owners use their cars. The cars manufactured in the last couple decades have been built with a computer on-board to help owners realize engine problems or other problems before any damage is done. Before the computer diagnostics technology, most car owners did not know something was wrong with the engine until something drastic happened, such as overheating or running out of gas. Now, however, computers in the cars constantly check the engine and its components to make sure it is always up to its optimum performance.
Vehicle electronics in India
The honest answer to this question must really be that the glass is only half-full and therefore also half-empty. On the one hand, the rate of expansion of vehicle electronics content (now approaching 40 per cent by value in some of the newer European luxury cars) and complexity leaves one with the feeling that we have not yet effectively closed the gap between global state of art and the situation in India. On the other hand one must draw some encouragement from small pockets of innovation and development. India is also engaged in cutting edge software in systems development for the very complex vehicle electronics architecture and some of the newer vehicles will employ a very contemporary next generation electronic architecture that will be scalable more or less over the next decade. Given the state of physical and digital infrastructure in India there is more encouragement on the more rapid advances in electronic infrastructure compared with physical infrastructure. India has adopted distributed and cloud computing, and user-customized solutions; this, despite the much slower pace of physical infrastructure development. With these, one can see benefits in areas such as logistics systems productivity, traffic congestion avoidance, and automated use-based toll collection. Looking forward, one can look to inspiration from the aerospace industry and look for advances related to analytics, sensor information fusion, and semi-autonomous capability.
Future of vehicle electronics
Today an average new automobile includes more than 40 electronic controllers, five miles of wiring, and more than 10 million lines of software code. Vehicles are almost becoming more like computers on wheels. Electronics in vehicles is becoming a way of life. More automobile manufacturers are equipping new autos so they match up with applications on today’s smart phones. Smart electronics applications in vehicles enable the driver, or preferably the passenger, to get directions, order stuff online, check in with friends on Facebook, identify songs being played on the radio, and look for nearby lodging and restaurants. Additionally, the application will allow motorists to track how much power and battery life the car has left, find a charging station and schedule the recharging of batteries. The next generation of foolproofing will venture along the boundary between what drivers should be expected to own as their responsibility, and what car makers or regulators should do to assure that driving is safe and convenient.
Some of the smart electronic advances in vehicles are as: all-wheel drive (AWD), airbags, GPS, Hybrid cars, With brilliant minds working in the auto industry, there are limitless possibilities in electronics to what the manufacturers will include in their products in the coming years. If we look to the technology and electronics that are being used in the military vehicles, we can often predict the services that will be in civilian vehicles in the near future. This tends to be a trend in the automobile industry and will likely continue as people always want and expect more from their vehicles. For example, a vehicle that will automatically parallel park your vehicle without the driver even needs to touch the wheel. Current testing and product trials suggest rather futuristic applications—such as vehicle-to-vehicle communication that reduces the chance of collisions; advanced navigation systems that adjust a car’s engine to features of the terrain according to information on the route traveled; and systems that find and reserve parking, as well as place vehicles into tight parking spaces. Ultimately, cars may drive themselves where self-driving vehicles will travel in tightly spaced groups on highways. The importance of such applications will rise as traffic congestion and urbanization increase in both developed and developing economies.
Safe electronic advances
No doubt, in the new world of electronics era, vehicles are about more than driving. They are full of touch screens, voice recognition software, and drive controller. They deliver entertainment and information, and keep people connected with their social networks. There are plenty of examples of strange, but needed electronics in vehicles and these are all just as distracting. The proposal is intended to protect people from themselves and reduce distracted driving, but it’s far too broad and could very well harm the driving experience, and our freedom. With all types of benefit of electronics in vehicles, people have put them to misuse which have lead to many unfortunate loss of innocent lives. Major accidents reported have been caused while drivers were busy in texting while driving. While there is no doubt that texting or reading anything on phone is a bad idea and a ban on it is probably a good thing and the opponents to vehicle electronics agency have issued a call for a nationwide ban on all personal electronic devices in the vehicles. Texting, emailing, or browsing the internet while driving is a terrible idea and might need banning. Therefore, it is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving. No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life. After all, everyone knows that distracted driving is wrong with the possible exception of automakers, who load ever more distractions into their vehicles. It’s just a question of how much government intrusion would be necessary to stop it.
Distracted driving is a dangerous and deadly habit on roadways, therefore, it is a priority to encourage people to stay focused behind the wheel. There are proposed guidelines to encourage automobile manufacturers to limit the distraction risk for in-vehicle electronic devices applying to communications, entertainment, information gathering, and navigation devices or functions that are not required to safely operate the vehicle. Some of the proposed safe electronic measures are:
- Everyone understands that the problem of using the in-vehicle electronics is near-ubiquitous and any full ban on personal device use in vehicles would be near-impossible to enforce. The proposals consist of guidelines for making in-vehicle electronics systems easier and less time-consuming to operate.
- All vehicles may be equipped with video event recorders that capture data in connection with the driver and the outside environment and roadway in the event of a crash or sudden deceleration event. These recordings would supposedly be triggered only in the event of an accident.
- Encourage the development of technology features that disable the functions of portable electronic devices within reach of the driver when a vehicle is in motion. These technology features should include the ability to permit emergency use of the device while the vehicle is in motion and have the capability of identifying occupant seating position so as not to interfere with use of the device by passengers. For this to happen, we’d need far more precise GPS technology and a transmitter located somewhere around the steering wheel of a vehicle.
- To limit the use of handheld devices or built-in systems should have the advantage of allowing a person to drive without holding a phone. Their touch screens and controllers are supposed to limit the number of inputs a driver needs to make, keeping his or her hands away from the wheel for a minimal amount of time.
Proposed guidelines also include the use of devices or systems that are not built into the vehicle but are brought into the vehicle and used while driving, including aftermarket and portable personal electronic devices such as navigation systems, smartphones, electronic tablets and pads, and other mobile communications devices. The proposed distraction guidelines include recommendations to:
- An advanced set of guidelines may address voice-activated controls to further minimize distraction in factory-installed, aftermarket, and portable devices
- Reduce complexity and task length required by the device
- Limit device operation to one hand only (leaving the other hand to remain on the steering wheel to control the vehicle)
- Limit individual off-road glances required for device operation to no more than two seconds in duration
- Limit unnecessary visual information in the driver’s field of view
- Limit the amount of manual inputs required for device operation
- Visual-manual assisted, text messaging, internet browsing, social media browsing, navigation system destination entry by address, 10-digit phone dialing and others