Understanding the Basics in Design of Electronics for Automotive
Those involved in the design of electronics for the automotive industry are shaping a new variety of automobiles. Today’s cars are aimed at a consumer market that has grown to expect sophisticated computerized electronics controlling the functions of every machine.
When it comes to automobiles, the design of electronics can have a tremendous impact on the end user experience. Design of electronics for the auto industry has become a critical component of the overall design process for the vehicle as a whole.
Form Meets Function
Design of electronics is involved in controlling literally every function in today’s cars. The design of electronics that control electric steering and braking, the computer brain that regulates and controls engine operations, all the way up to the passenger climate comfort system, motorized mirrors, airbags, antilock brakes, and maintenance notifications, are all triggered by sophisticated electronic sensors, switches, and controls. These all connect to the command center in a car, called the Controller Area Network.
Design of electronics for automobiles is, in fact, the design of the interaction between human and machine. Design of electronics that creates a smooth, intuitive user experience aligned with consumer expectations requires those involved in the design of electronics to understand and account for a variety of different factors.
Designing for The Long Term
While many consumer electronics have a relatively short lifespan in the hands of consumers, automobiles tend to stay in use much longer. The design of electronics for automobiles needs to reflect this. A cell phone may only last an average user around two years, but a car will still be in use in a decade or more. So, design of electronics for automobiles needs to be cutting edge to remain usable and relevant over a long usage life, but also, simple and easy to learn for today’s auto shopper.
Simplicity is key to the design of electronics for automobiles. Understanding how consumers interact with their other devices, and utilizing similar commands, responses, and controls, can greatly increase a users’ perceived ease of use; therefore, those who work in the design of electronics need to stay up to date with variety of devices and how they are used, what irritations users report, and industry trends. It’s clear that the car of the future will be a powerful computer capable of a variety of functions that once seemed feasible only in science fiction. The design of electronics is key to this capability.
Since safety is a top concern for consumers when choosing an automobile, those who are control the design of electronics are wisely utilizing the trends of voice-operated controls, as well as computer control systems that can automatically download their own software updates, for optimal safety. A wide variety of electronic safety features such as anti-lock brakes, automatically deployed airbags, GPS, integrated cellular communications, motion sensors, and even computerized engine diagnostics are all available in today’s automobiles, thanks to those responsible for the design of electronics.
Design of electronics for automakers is based as much on the physical capabilities of the available materials (hardware) as it is advances in computing (software.) Smart designers are always paying attention to the advances in the design of electronics and how they can be utilized in a cost-effective fashion. The intersection of form and function is what defines great design, and design of electronics is no exception.
Design of electronics that are ever faster, smarter, smaller, more affordable, and more intuitive is a nonstop cycle of innovation that creates a safer, more satisfying user experience. That user experience is what differentiates one automobile from another, and in the end, it’s what sells cars. The design of electronics is clearly one of the more important features of today’s automobile innovations.