Autonomous Cars

In a domain-based vehicle, systems will be grouped by function and managed by domain controllers. For example, there will be separate domains for the powertrain, infotainment system, and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). These domains will simplify the software and logical architecture of IVN, but they will also make the wiring harness heavier and more complex.

To reduce the cost and complexity of wiring harnesses, automakers will move to zonal IVNs around 2035. Systems will be grouped according to their physical location in the car, and all the hardware in a zone will transmit its data through a zonal module. This kind of full zonal architecture will make vehicles more modular and will enable automakers to share firmware and software between models, or allow customers to subscribe to over-the-air updates that upgrade a sub-system’s functionality.

The ultimate goal is to have distributed zonal architecture in vehicles around 2050, which NXP refers to as “cloud computing cars.” In these cars, many systems will provide processing on the edge, operating on their own and only sharing data with other systems as needed. This kind of architecture is still a long way off, but NXP is already developing hardware solutions for the future of IVN.

In 2050, cars will be vastly different from the vehicles we drive today. The Mustang of the future will likely be electric and self-driving, and to support this technology, the in-vehicle networking (IVN) will also have to evolve. Experts at NXP, a company that designs and manufactures IVN products for the auto industry, predict that by 2025, the “flat” architecture of IVN, in which all systems have a physical connection to a central computer, will be replaced by domain-based architectures.

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