Electrical and electronic systems comprise a substantial segment of the feature and function set of modern automobiles and trucks. The cost efficient implementation of intelligent functions, both within and beyond the domains of powertrain, chassis, and body, is accomplished with the aid of electrics, electronics, and software.
As a function of the rising demands on our automobiles’ drivability, convenience, safety, and environmental compatibility, the number and complexity of electronically implemented vehicle functions are increasing steadily. Today’s midsize cars being equipped with engine and transmission controls, electronic brakes, occupant safety, as well as driver assistant and infotainment systems, feature some 40 electronic control units (ECUs). Modern engine control modules process up to 250 MIPS (million instructions per second); these may contain upwards of 20,000 function parameters. The same magnitude applies to the volume of code onboard the ECU, the logical core of all control and diagnostic functions.