By Charles Janac, Arteris IP
EETimes (November 8, 2021)
Technologists often overuse words such as “disruptive” and “revolutionary,” but the recent evolution of automobile design and manufacturing is undoubtedly both disruptive and revolutionary. These changes represent the most significant upheaval in transportation design over the past 100 years, the greatest advancement since the early days of cars, when steam, gasoline, and even battery-powered vehicles mingled on the same dusty roads. The entire car is being overhauled, this time with electronics, to re-make cars as supercomputers on wheels.
One BMW engineer lamented that his team had spent decades designing cars with superb handling and performance, yet the first thing buyers want to know is whether the vehicle integrates with their mobile phone. You can understand the frustration of traditional car designers as electronics and software replace mechanical design as customer selection criteria.
It is no accident that Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Volvo, and others are running ads that highlight their cars’ wireless phone chargers, all-digital dashboards, collision-avoidance systems and 24-channel stereos. No one mentions horsepower, RPM, ride, handling or even “rich Corinthian leather.” Even Ford truck commercials tout the number of 12V outlets and the built-in generator, not the truck’s cargo capacity or towing ability. GVWR (total maximum weight) has given way to Teraflops and MHz.
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