A complete autonomous vehicle i.e. a vehicle with level 5 category will have to decide the driving route by sensing the environment and communicating with cloud about its change in preferences. This will definitely increase the number of sensors that are to be installed in the car. This further suggests requirement of higher computation unit to maintain the processing speed and provide information safety to operate the large number of sensors. If the traditional approach is considered to address this issue i.e. adding an electronic control unit (ECU) for every new feature added in the vehicle. This process will definitely impact the vehicle performance and will also add the complexity to the vehicle E/E architecture and will also slow the processing of information which will adversely affect the autonomous vehicle operation.
To address the above challenge, the domain controller is needed. It helps to replace the multiple ECUs dedicated to the individual processes which further increases the complexity and hamper the vehicle operation. The second heaviest thing in the vehicle is wiring if reduction in wiring is achieved with the help of a domain controller, this will further help to increase the vehicle range efficiency. The domain controller plays an important in the development of E/E architecture required for futuristic vehicles which demand a reduction in cost and complexity. The domain controller helps to enable high-speed communication, reduce the wiring, and process the information in a timely manner.
The solutions available in the market include safety domain controller from Continental, multi-domain controller by Aptiv which was enabled with the help of Mobileye’s technology and the ProAI developed by ZF in partnership with NVIDIA. OEM’s are aggressive when it comes to the development of autonomous vehicle and keep hunting to acquire advanced technology from a supplier. Thus, domain controller has a huge demand in the market and various OEM’s are looking forward to partner or acquire the company’s knowledge in the product development.
The future is about who attains success in the development of autonomous vehicle and domain controller is an important aspect. Controlling the electronic system and operating them at a high efficiency has enabled huge investments and research in processing power to simplify the E/E architecture. It is also necessary for the OEMs to consolidate the processing power but the path towards achieving consolidation is based on the capability and strategy. Few companies can follow the process in which sensor data is processed at the edge whereas centralized microcontroller unit will take care of other functions. Whereas few companies can employ centralized ECU which fuses the sensory data. It can also be expected that few OEM’s goes for the hybrid structure.