Independent research and development of automotive electronics focuses on seizing the advantages of latecomers

A chief engineer of a car electronics company in Chengdu revealed to reporters that at present, in the field of automotive electronics, foreign OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers have tightly blocked the technology. On the one hand, Tier 1 suppliers of international automotive parts require them to provide a full set of solutions. Willing to work with local companies to participate in the design of electronic systems, avoiding the opportunity for local companies to learn their core technologies; on the other hand, foreign companies do not open their data and interface standards for their designed electronic systems, leading to electronic systems developed by local companies. It is difficult to share data and internet with it. Therefore, the chief engineer believes that in the field of automotive electronics, it is very difficult for local companies to “change technology for the market” and can only make great efforts to independently develop. In response, many industry experts recently conducted in-depth exchanges and discussions on advanced automotive electronic technologies and basic platform seminars held in Changchun by Mentor Graphics Corporation, the Automotive Electronic Technology Branch of the China Automotive Engineering Society and the Automotive Engineering Institute of Jilin University. Explore.

Serge Leef, General Manager of Mentor Graphics's SLE (System Level Engineering) Division, introduced Mentor as a global leader in electronic design automation technology, providing the market with easy-to-use software tools such as automotive electrical and electrical system harnesses, test and simulation, and network protocols. . Today, cars are like "computers on the wheels." A car contains 50 to 70 subsystems. Engines such as engine management, ABS, air conditioning, and audio are controlled by different ECUs. At the same time, each subsystem needs related connections to form a Collaborative network systems have increased the complexity of automotive electrical and electronic systems.

Nick Smith, director of product marketing for Mentor’s IESD product, added that the networking of automotive electrical and electronic systems is not simply a functional integration. For example, just how to physically connect the signal of each subsystem needs to weigh the best solution from many angles such as cost, weight, reliability and design reusability. At the same time, in order to meet the individual needs of consumers or regional markets, one model will have thousands of configurations such as left/right rudder driving, manual/automatic transmission, high/mid-range/low-end entertainment systems, etc. Configuration also leads to system design complexity. In addition, when designing an electrical and electronic system as a large-scale industrial product and a durable consumer product, automobiles also need to take into account the links of production logistics and after-sales maintenance. It can be seen that to design such a complex system, modern advanced design tools must be utilized.

According to Liu Yan, director of business development at Mentor Graphics in China, Mentor Graphics is a global leader in electronic design automation technology and provides software tools for automotive electronics and electrical system harnesses, test and simulation, and network protocols. On the one hand, China’s automotive electronics started later than Europe, the United States, and Japan; on the other hand, China’s automotive electronics talents are relatively lacking, and their design and testing experience is relatively inadequate. Therefore, Chinese domestic companies must compete later and adopt synchronization with international giants. Assisted design tools are undoubtedly one of the most effective shortcuts. In fact, modern and advanced design tools have already contained a large number of international giants' design flaws, which can, to a large extent, reduce the detours of local Chinese companies.

Dr. Dong Yinping, senior product specialist at Mentor Graphics, said that compared with traditional design techniques, Volcano, a network communication design tool, can shorten product development time by 30% and reduce system test workload by 50%. Taking Volvo as an example, it took five to seven years to design an electric and electronic system for a model in 1994. The recent development of the S80 electronic and electrical system using Volcano took only three to four years. It is expected that the development cycle could be shortened to one year. about. In fact, as of now, the high efficiency of Volcano tools has also been recognized by Chinese automakers. For example, in 2005 Shanghai Automotive adopted Volcano as a development platform for self-owned brand models, filling the gap that Chinese automakers could not design a complete vehicle communication protocol.

In addition to the above-mentioned use of advanced design tools, some participating experts believe that building a joint R&D platform can also help local companies achieve leapfrog development.

The automotive electronics industry chain can be simply divided into three levels: upstream, midstream and downstream. Among them, upstream companies include semiconductor companies such as Freescale, Infineon and STMicroelectronics, Agilent and other electronic test and measurement equipment manufacturers, and independent design companies that provide solutions; midstream companies are mainly for OEMs (automobile manufacturers, First-tier suppliers of independent engines and transmission companies; downstream companies mainly refer to OEMs.

How can we build a win-win joint R & D platform? Limited by inherent factors such as market competition and difficulty in the distribution of benefits, there is a certain degree of difficulty in forming alliances among Tier 1 suppliers (middle-tier companies). However, cross-layer cooperation between industrial chains still has broad prospects.

On December 15 last year, Tianjin FAW Xiali Automobile Co., Ltd. and STMicroelectronics Corporation established a joint laboratory for automotive electronics applications to match development of powertrain electronic control products, control of new energy vehicle powertrains, and vehicle information entertainment electronics. The joint research and development in the field provides Tianjin FAW and related companies with advanced products and solutions. The cooperation model is that Tianjin FAW will use its own auto supporting market as its signboard to attract upstream companies to actively “provide treasures”, and effectively avoid internationally tier one suppliers' “perfunctory” technology, and they will not be able to “fit in”. Technology team's ability to independently develop core technologies.

During the conference, Jin Hanghua, general manager of Shanghai Hangsheng, introduced the automotive electronics joint laboratory established by Shanghai Silicon Intellectual Property Exchange Center, Hangsheng and Agilent Technologies Co., Ltd. Jin Weihua said that the joint laboratories realized the complementarity of the three parties in the areas of integrated circuit IP, system integration, and supporting markets and testing equipment. At the same time, the laboratory is an open platform. Besides Hangsheng, other companies also Share the resources of the laboratory platform, which can help local automotive electronics companies reduce R&D costs and avoid unnecessary huge equipment investment.

The reporter felt that after communicating with the heads of several local automotive electronics companies, at the present stage, compared with mechanical products, local companies’ automotive electronics products are destined to enter the host factory supporting system and are still faced with a heavy chain of trust, but Local companies have grasped historical opportunities and continuously improved their independent research and development capabilities and product cost performance. Local automotive electronics companies will still have a lot to offer.

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