Aptiv’s customers got a glimpse into the near future of cutting-edge vehicle technologies at CES 2020, as experts delved into the many opportunities presented by the company’s developments in software, sensing, electrification and more.
At the center of Aptiv’s presence at the show was Smart Vehicle ArchitectureTM, Aptiv’s vision for electrical and electronic systems to lower total cost of ownership while enabling feature-rich and highly automated vehicles.
SVA™ reimagines how software, compute, electrical distribution and connectors are managed in a vehicle. It reduces complexity and allows OEMs to add features to their vehicles in a much more elegant way than today’s architectures do.
“We are uniquely positioned in the market with the brain and nervous system of the vehicle, which means we can cover the complete architecture — from the software and the compute to the wiring harness and the sensors,” said Christian Schaefer, director of electrical and electronic systems for Aptiv’s Mobility Architecture Group. “So we saw all the issues, all the different customer philosophies — and in the end we said: Here is the condensed architecture where we think we can solve the problems of most of our customers.”
Separation brings it all together
A key tenet of SVA is separating software from hardware, so the architecture includes Aptiv’s Open Server Platform, which helps enable that approach as the industry moves toward software-defined vehicles. In the past, companies would develop vehicle hardware and software sequentially and bring them to market together, which was slow and limited how often vehicle software could be updated, mostly by model year.
“The OSP stops this. It opens the software for change,” said Martin Bornemann, director of systems for the Mobility Architecture Group. “It opens up the business model in a way that the customer later on can buy software, install it and keep it fresh, even in an older car.”
Another tenet of SVA is to separate the I/O from the compute inside a vehicle. Aptiv does this through its Power Data Centers (PDC), which enable zonal control of an area. Any sensors or other components in a particular area of the vehicle — which could include anything from radars, cameras and lidar to actuators such as pumps and electric motors — get their power and data connections through the corresponding PDC.
With the PDC handling the I/O, powerful domain controllers can focus on feature functions, which are likely to be on a different update frequency than the sensors and actuators. “You are free to add more features to the vehicle without the need to add more ECUs [electronic control units] within the vehicle,” said Sylvain Pirali, global chief engineer for Advanced Connectivity & Security.
As those sensors provide raw data, Aptiv’s technology uses low-level sensor fusion to stitch together data from multiple external sensors and provide a more complete picture of what is around the vehicle, drawing from the relative strengths of radar, cameras and lidar.
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