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Automotive ECU: Core Component for Connected Cars

With the increasing usage of electronics in automobiles for safety control, communication & infotainment, power train, and body electronics, the number of electronic control units (ECU) is increasing as well. The electronic control unit is basically a family of computer systems that controls and maintains the entire electronics, electrical and mechanical systems of a vehicle. Increasing demand for alternative vehicle choices and the government’s strict policy regulations on pollution control norms are transforming the powertrain technology of vehicles rapidly. The growing adoption of connected vehicle technology and automatic driver assistance systems (ADAS) is also another factor for driving the demand for electronics. It’s projected that XEVs such as hybrid and pure electric vehicles and ADAS systems alone would contribute to over 45% of electronics in the car by 2030.

Classifications of ECUs

The ECU is classified based on its functions such as engine control module (ECM), body control module (BCM), electronic brake control module (EBCM), powertrain control module (PCM), transmission control module (TCM), suspension control module (SCM), door control unit (DCM), battery management system (BMS), and many more. All the functions of automotive, be it basic window movements or a critical safety or fuel injection function, are being controlled by the ECU system with the help of a microcontroller. The ECU system collects and analyzes the data and decides the actions based on defined parameters. The standard automobiles running on the roads today have more than 80 different ECUs in them and the luxury ones can integrate as many as 150 ECUs. With electronics usage increasing due to various use cases, the adoption of complex ECUs is also set to increase.

Connected Car Transition

The growth of ECU is proportional to the technological evolution of the automobile Industry. The connected car, the inevitable evolution of the automobile industry enables the car to communicate to its surroundings, such as infrastructure, vehicle, cloud, pedestrian, and everything. The increasing need for in-car-content and services, advanced navigation, maintenance & monitoring, and ADAS are the key enablers connected to the car to transition. This transition demands high-performance ECUs to analyze and perform actions quickly with increasing real-time applications. It also demands constant upgrades to the firmware and software to keep the machine intelligent as always. It’s expected that by 2025, 50% of vehicle value will be defined by the software and its experience.

With software-over-the-air (SOTA) technologies, software or data is delivered to the automobile through wireless technology and to stay up-to-date. These updates will span every aspect of the information and it’s projected that automotive companies will be making 100M updates a year to vehicles using SOTA technology. The globally connected car market is projected to reach 166B. By 2025, growing at a CAGR of 25.2% from 2020 and the value of the ECU or domain control unit (DCU) would contribute to over 35% of the value.

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Syrma SGS TechnologyAutomotive ECU: Core Component for Connected Cars

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