Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tooling up for tomorrow’s clever cars

29.02.2008
Cars are becoming more complex, with a range of advanced features we could hardly have imagined a few years ago made possible by sophisticated software-driven electronics. The downside is, with more to go wrong, more is going wrong, but European researchers have developed an antidote: a new computer language.

The average new car coming off the production line today has the same amount of electronic systems as a commercial airliner did two decades ago. Hard to accept perhaps, but true if auto-makers are to be believed.

Growth in automotive embedded systems (software and electronics) has been exponential since the early 1990s and the trend is predicted to continue. In 2002, electronic parts comprised 25 percent of a vehicle’s value – by 2015, car manufacturers predict this will hit 40 percent.

But the more electronic systems are added, the more they contribute to vehicle breakdowns and recalls. Researchers on the European ATESST project say a substantial share of vehicle failures today can be directly attributed to embedded systems, and field data indicates this share is increasing by several percent a year. This will reach unacceptable levels if no preventative action plan is put in place.

However the EU-funded, two-year project, which comes to an end when it presents its findings at a workshop in Brussels on 3 March this year, has developed an Architecture Description Language (ADL) aimed at improving methodology to handle component failures and avoid design flaws.

Binding them all
“New tools are needed to do a job which is becoming ever more complex,” says project coordinator Henrik Lönn. “The many components which go into vehicles are being made by a host of manufacturers, often using different processes and working to different standards.”

A common language at the top level is needed to bind them together, he says.

There have been a number of important initiatives, including the European-developed AUTOSAR standard, which is used by many component suppliers and is on its way to becoming a de facto international standard. Also in common usage are off-the-shelf UML2 modelling tools which are not specific to the auto industry.

“But this is still not enough,” he stresses. “What we have developed is an industry-specific system which works with these other standards and dictates what part of the system is performing what function, and makes sure the different components will work together.”

The problem is, despite the huge strides in electronics, until now not enough attention has been paid to the big picture. When the manufacturer gets a component from a supplier, no matter how sophisticated it might be, it comes with a text file which describes the system for the manufacturer’s engineers.

The EAST-ADL2 language the ATESST project has been developing enables the computer modelling of systems. Instead of the old-fashioned text file, a supplier can now provide a computer model of his system to the manufacturer who can then immediately integrate it into the overall design.

“What this does is to give the manufacturer a complete picture at a much earlier point in proceedings than is possible at the moment,” says Lönn. “You don’t have to wait for all the electronics and software to be ready and assembled, but can do your analysis at a much earlier stage.”

Clean, green mean machines
With a holistic view available much earlier than was previously possible, late-phase integration – where failure is both common and costly – is avoided and the chance of design errors, which are felt by car buyers, is minimised.

“Complex programs, like active safety functions, involve many systems and components. But we are at the stage now where it is becoming difficult to improve them without first improving our methodology, which is the purpose of EAST-ADL2.”

As well as the economic imperative to develop the new methodology, pressure will also come in the form of a new standard, ISO26262, controlling improvements in all the safety aspects of vehicles.

“This standard will put stringent requirements on the development of safety systems which means manufacturers will have to be more rigorous. Having the EAST-ADL2 language to work with will make this possible,” says Lönn.

“There is also pressure to build more environmentally-friendly cars and, to get the best environmental performance, optimised systems which are integrated and work properly together are needed,” he says.

With the development work over, the challenge now is to get the auto industry to accept EAST-ADL2 as a de facto standard. But the advantages to everybody are so obvious Lönn feels they will be adopted in one form or another. Indeed, he believes concepts from the project provide the basis for vehicles that are safer, greener, more fuel efficient, more reliable and more intelligent than would have been thought possible just a few short years ago.

Christian Nielsen | alfa
Further information:
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/BrowsingType/Features/ID/89579

More articles from Automotive Engineering:

nachricht 3D scans for the automotive industry
16.01.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Improvement of the operating range and increasing of the reliability of integrated circuits
09.11.2016 | Technologie Lizenz-Büro (TLB) der Baden-Württembergischen Hochschulen GmbH

All articles from Automotive Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>