In what ways are automotive electronics different from “regular” electronics?

Automotive electronics are electronics that are specifically developed for use in vehicles, as opposed to general-purpose electronics. Commercial (i.e., regular) electronics cannot be exposed to the high temperatures that automotive electronics must withstand.

There are numerous different temperature classes in which electrical equipment are made, and each manufacturer has its own set of temperature ratings. Because of this, designers and engineers should pay particular attention to the product data sheets’ real requirements. Check out the examples of temperature grades and ratings below. Notably, the automotive grade (in terms of severe temperature ratings) comes in second only to the military grade:

  • From 0 to 85 degrees centigrade for commercial use
  • -40°C to 100°C for industrial use
  • Temperature range for automotive: -45 to 125 degrees Celsius
  • From -55 degrees Celsius to +125 degrees Celsius for the military

The question is, why not just utilize military-grade materials in all cases? And the explanation is straightforward: it’s expensive. If the device’s temperature rating rises, its price will, too – sometimes considerably.

The phrase “automotive electronics” refers to equipment like redarc accessories that have either been specifically intended for or have been modified for use in automotive applications, regardless of temperature rating. Carputers, telematics, and infotainment systems are some examples of this technology.

A carputer is nothing more than a modified PC built for use in a car with one or more of the following additional features:

•       Smaller than average size

•       Power consumption is minimal.

•       components that have been individually designed by the client

•       The ability to watch videos (DVD)

•       Has the ability to play music (MP3)

•       USB connectivity

•       Wi-Fi connectivity

•       Using a satellite-based navigation system

It’s also known as in-car entertainment (ICE) or in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems, infotainment is a group of hardware and software in vehicles that offers audio and visual material in a mix of information and entertainment (a combination of information and entertainment). A smart car can be said to have been sparked by infotainment systems, which can provide excellent entertainment features (like rear seat entertainment) as well as technologies capable of driver assistance, such as assisting a driver while parking a car or alerting the driver on a congested route and suggesting an alternate route and offering internet connectivity inside of a car.

Engine control was the first use for a computer in an automobile. The computer was referred to as the ECU, or Engine Control Unit.

More than 50 computer systems are now common in modern vehicles, and they monitor and/or manage everything from the ride’s handling to the vehicle’s entertainment and communication features. Freescale/NXP, Renesas, Infineon, STMicroelectronics, Bosch, Texas Instruments (TI), ON Semiconductor, Toshiba, and Micron Technology are some of the current automotive electronic semiconductor vendors.

To think about how far automobiles have come since 1968, when Volkswagen first employed a computer system, is simply mind-blowing. An automobile in 49 years’ time will be unrecognizable if present advances in automotive electronics continue. Maybe in the future, we won’t need to drive at all. Instead, we’ll be able to sleep, watch movies, or FaceTime with loved ones while the automobile takes care of the driving.

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