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Bosch sees massive challenges ahead for automotive electronics

June 17, 2010 | Christoph Hammerschmidt | 222900899
The trend towards electric drives and its impact to automotive electronics has been discussed extensively throughout the industry. But industry pundits see another challenge coming up to automotive engineers: Future cars will be connected to the internet – with far-reaching consequences.
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If Volkmar Denner is right, the trend towards connecting vehicles to the internet will have a comparable impact as the electrification of the powertrain, currently the other major challenge for the automotive electronics supply chain. Volkmar Denner watches this market closely: He is one of the CEOs of automotive tier one Robert Bosch GmbH.

Studies on user expectations in particular within the younger generation show that the desire to own a car is decreasing in the industrial countries, Denner said in its opening presentation to the Automotive Electronics congress in Ludwigsburg, Germany, that took place during this week. The young generation does not only attach less importance to owning a car in general, it also values less the experience associated to a powerful engine. Instead, young drivers and drivers-to-be expect interactivity and connectivity in their vehicles – much the same environment they use at home.

This will move the focus of industry wide development efforts from power train to interior, in particular to user interfaces and connectivity functions. In the first place, this shift of focus will cause a clash of the cultures: Consumer electronics with its fast design cycles and short product lifetimes will influence the in-car electronic landscape much more than in the past where car designers typically took up to seven years to roll out a product generation. This cultural change will affect the entire design chain, Denner said. Beyond consequences for design processes, procurement, parts stock and other industrial aspects it also will drastically change the in-car electronics architecture.

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