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Submission + - The developer's guide to future car technology

Esther Schindler writes: Forget the Jetsons. Instead, think tech innovations from a developer's point of view: embedded systems, networking challenges, human-machine interaction, and software standards.

Instead of considering where computers-in-cars are going from a consumer viewpoint (which is cool enough), the four Ford engineers speaking at the Grace Hopper Conference discussed what's involved in designing computers from an engineering and development standpoint. For example: "The same things that make multicore architecture more powerful make it more complex just to start with. Now imagine that scenario in a system where safety is paramount, and split-second timing means life or death."

In 2006, there were 13 embedded CPUs (ECUs) in a vehicle, she said; today it’s 65. As Burkard explained, multi-core microcontroller architecture is being introduced in powertrain control modules to enable continued growth in the complexity of engine and transmission controls with lower power consumption and lower heat dissipation. But they also bring tech challenges: more difficult static/dynamic analysis; working with legacy applications with complex hand-written software that was never designed for parallel systems; the need for stricter standards.

And if you want to be impressed by the complexity of the systems, take a look at the slide they displayed with all the modules' interconnections.

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The developer's guide to future car technology

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