Smart cars offer "once in a generation chance" to UK industry, experts say

November 28, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
The steadily increasing electronics content in vehicles, driven in particular by the development towards an autonomous car, represent a unique chance for the automotive value chain in Great Britain. This was the common denominator of several keynote speeches at the recent conference of the Automotive Electronic Systems Innovation Network (AESIN) in Warwick, UK.

There are increasing signs that Great Britain's once formidable automotive industry is re-gaining traction on its way back into the world league. Within the recent years, Britain has become the destination of choice for automotive OEMs, and car production is growing at an impressing pace of 9% annually. Fuelled is this comeback by the growing electronics content within the vehicles, as manufacturers such as Jaguar or Mini along with Japanese OEMs, who run production sites in the UK, add ever more features and functionality to their vehicles.

The adoption of intelligent systems within the vehicle and the surrounding environment coupled with changes in regulation, legislation and consumer demands has created excellent chances for the British automotive industry, several keynote speakers at the AESIN conference stressed. AESIN is a specialist industry group dedicated to accelerating electronic systems innovation in automotive environments.

In his speech, Michael Mychajluk, Purchasing Risk Manager of automotive icon Jaguar Land Rover, described how cars will look like in the future and which challenges have to be met to develop them. "The car of tomorrow will make increasing use of sophisticated electronic systems for safety, comfort and performance. ... There are many exciting areas of development enabled by electronic systems - but this introduces a significant complexity issue which can only be addressed by a supply chain that works more effectively together", he said. "This presents us all with a once in a generation opportunity to streamline the process and accelerate innovation from R&D to on-the-road production vehicles”.

Keith Kidd, Director of Renesas European Design Centre, added that “major challenges facing the industry are coming from outside the traditional automotive areas: consumer innovations at automotive quality, security, ADAS and drive train all present new opportunity and significant challenges”.

Freescale Systems Engineering Manager Andrew Birnie widely shared this view. He added that the push towards the autonomous car presents a number of challenges for the entire automotive supply chain,