Automotive service in the era of the electronic car

April 30, 2018 // By Gerhard Angst, Concept Engineering
Can a “Google Maps” approach turn around automotive service efficiency for modern vehicle electronics?

The automotive electronic revolution has given us vehicles brimming with impressive features, and this is only the beginning. One component that should not be overlooked in this transformation is automotive servicing, crucial to the overall ownership experience.

Rapid, effective service is a critical business factor for the entire automotive industry. But servicing a modern car today calls on complex, interconnected computer system diagnosis, given the pervasive nature of electronics in the latest machines. So how do we enable mechanics under enormous time pressure to identify and repair problems in a more rapid and secure way?

The modern vehicle, regardless of cost, contains a plethora of electronic systems, as shown in Figure 1. Some of these are obvious, such as radar, entertainment, and navigation. However, most are not visible to the driver, but are essential to the vehicle’s basic operation.


Figure 1: Electronic Components in a Modern Vehicle

A vehicle in 2018 typically contains 100-300 micro-controllers or processors, 50+ complex electronic control units, between 5 and 20 million lines of software code, with miles of wires connecting these systems. These systems often interact. For example, the steering system interfaces with the suspension to ensure a smooth ride.

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