The in-vehicle network enables different parts of the vehicle to communicate, and in recent years, the number of those communications has spiked. This has resulted from a rapid increase in functionality, affording passengers better comfort, entertainment and driving performance over previous generations.
As driving the vehicle becomes a task performed only by computer, the underlying network of cables, computers, actuators and sensors will serve as the vehicle’s central nervous system. Many believe the current configuration will not be fit for autonomous vehicles (AVs), however, and is due a rethink.
The automotive industry has been on a mission to try and limit the increase in hardware resulting from advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), digital screens and electric components. More ECUs bring more cables, drain more energy and take up more space. It has created a labyrinth of microcomputers, cables and components, largely decentralised and operating independently—each with their own power and data processing requirements. Although far from ideal, this has been largely unavoidable until now. The advent of high-performance computing (HPC) promises to reverse this trend of hardware complexity.
The basics of an AV network