Automotive, the Ultimate Connected ‘Device’

The Internet of Things (IoT) is about connected devices, and those devices are not just smartphones, tablets and phablets. It is anything that can collect data (sensors), connect to the internet and transmit the data wirelessly (antennas), and make smart decisions on acquired data (embedded software / processors). The biggest “mobility device” happens to be one that is near and dear to Americans — the car. Over the last few years the amount of electronics and connectivity within a car has been rapidly growing making it a primary differentiator for an automobile. Analysts predict that by 2016 in-vehicle connectivity and online content will play a critical role in car buyer’s purchasing decision in mature markets. By 2016, the technology to connect cars is expected to be $54 Billion.

Automotive_IoTThe connected car with its infotainment, engine management, CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), lane departure, navigation, stability, traction control systems and more form a perfect cosmos of IoT within the automobile. At the heart of it all are electronic systems that need to not only function correctly but also reliably. A self-driving automobile takes the safety and reliability requirements of these electronic systems even more seriously into a different dimension.

The reliability and lifetime requirements of integrated circuits (ICs) and electronic components used in the electronic systems within a highly connected automobile are much more stringent than that of a consumer IoT device. Far beyond functional requirements, the ICs and components that make up the electronics must reliably operate under extreme conditions such as fluctuating voltages and varying temperature. In an automobile, battery supplies the required constant power to all of the electronics systems. With increasing electronics content, each component need to be designed for power efficiency. The extreme thermal conditions in an automobile directly impacts the lifetime of ICs in the form of electromigration (EM). The number of radios operating simultaneously within an automobile creates a complex web of electromagnetic patterns resulting in electromagnetic interference (EMI) issues.

All of this brings into the forefront the need to ensure proper power delivery to and within the ICs, as well as predict the behavior of the ICs and systems under extreme conditions during the design phase. Accurate and comprehensive simulation of power, noise, ESD, thermal-aware EM and EMI of the ICs and systems in the context of each other are an absolute requirement for the most complex connected “device,” the automobile.

Visit ANSYS at the Automotive Pavilion in the Design Automation Conference, June 8-10 in San Francisco, CA to see its comprehensive multi-physics simulation capabilities for automotive design including electronics.

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