Keep in mind that some of these MCU's are replacing older Analog, Electromechanical, Hydro mechanical or just plain mechanical systems. The mass reduction and simplicity of applying the MCU's makes them ideal. Yea sure Cert time is a little tough but some of these MCU's add cost saving. Other options like collision avoidance etc. are added at the buyers' expense however they are there mostly for brownie points from the car manufacturer. This is what competition does. They add all these features at a few pennies to the dollar and it's all done to lure average Joe to purchase their car instead of the competitors. I personaly still ignore all the background noise and look at the amount of money it takes to buy and maintain a car.
That makes sense. Laying the groundwork now and refining the designs as they become a standard part of the car's BOM. I imagine what we see now in terms of driver aid systems will be nothing compared to what we see in the future.
Nadine, I think it's safe to say that the costs will be absorbed by virtually all automotive consumers, because many of these features will be offered in bundles, whether you ask for them or not. Breaking out the cost of a single feature is unfortunately difficult.
Beth: I suspect, but cannot prove, that auto engineers see a lot of these features as pieces of the autonomous vehicle puzzle. So you might never use them, but the autonomous vehicle will use them. Lanekeeping and collision avoidance, for example, might one day just take over for you, whether you want them to or not.
Good point Rob. Are there any stats on what the new devices will add to the car's total cost?
To Beth and naperlou's point, how often will these extras be used? If they're offered as an option and too pricey, consumers may choose to opt out. Turn signlas and seat belts are mandatory, back-up cameras and parking sensors are not.
I still lament the loss of actual driving skills but I learned to drive in San Francisco in a '68 Mustang.
I remember just a few years ago, analysts were amazed that electronics made up about 10 percent of a car's total cost, an estimate of about $2,000. By 2018, it sounds like that figure will have grown considerably in the percentage of a car's cost as well as total amount.
If the car is safer, and if the car lasts longer, these costs will be worthwhile. Only time will tell whether the added costs pay off in value.
It is amazing how many microprocessors there are in cars these days. I was talking to an engineer and he pointed out that in many cases, instead of using a centralized processor and a sensor that a unit would be built with its own processor. One seemingly simple example of this is the temperature sensor. These generally have a small MCU to report the temperature. The reason is tied into how the automotive industry works. The automakers design the car and work with suppliers who provide the parts. This is great for the MCU industry.
As for the sensors that you don't use, I have seen that in many situations. I think it was in this site that there have been articles about the automated highway. There was a comment in one about how the automated vehicles actually stopped at the stop sign (a pet peeve of mine). I have been in cars where the vehicle gave the operator mutliple ques about what was happening. The drivers often become used to ignoring them. Sort of like Beth, come to think of it.
California State University, Chico was the first school in California to offer an ABET-accredited degree program in mechatronic engineering. Now its California Mechatronics Center works with industry on machinery, robotics, and surveillance vehicles.
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