New generation 48V electric systems can lower carbon emissions while boosting fuel economy at the same time.
A system showcased by the German IAV Automotive Engineering Group at the SAE 2014 Congress held in Detroit Michigan during April 2014 is said to provide a cost-effective solution for high-volume production as it minimizes changes and installation efforts, and is able to interact efficiently with smallersize combustion engines. The IAV Group is an engineering and technical consultancy servicing the global automotive industry with approximately 5,500 employees worldwide. It is a recognized leader in the specification, design, development, validation and production launch of advanced vehicle and powertrain systems.
Automotive Industries (AI) asked Chris Hennessy, Vice President of Engineering at IAV Automotive Engineering what makes the company’s 48 Volt system innovative.
Hennessy: IAV’s approach has been focused on making this technology feasible for mass market integration into high volume vehicle platforms, so that this technology can change the current perception that hybridization is a high cost niche market solution. IAV’s cost-effective and fuel-saving system provides important benefits for both the OEM and the consumer, making this a leading, innovative technology. There is no need for a 12 volt start function.
AI: Tell us about the other technologies that were showcased at this year’s SAE World Congress.
Hennessy: In addition to IAV’s 48 Volt System we exhibited the Chrysler 3.0L EcoDiesel DOHC V-6 engine. The engine is a project we’re working on in partnership with VMM-FGA as part of a continuous improvement program. It is featured in the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2015 Ram 1500. IAV has provided calibration and testing for emissions standards and has worked to enhance emissions reductions, while maintaining vehicle fuel economy.
IAV also exhibited an Automotive Ethernet Demonstrator, a technology used for the integration of advanced driver assistance and infotainment systems. The demonstrator network connects head and rear seat units for infotainment content streaming and an IP-camera-based parking assistance control unit. This technology has been developed to help address the bottlenecks that exist when trying to stream and analyze large amounts of data in real time in support of advanced driver assistance features, such as park assist. In the longer term, this technology will be required to support the realization of autonomous vehicle operation.
AI: What are some of the highlights of IAVs engineering capabilities that you showcased at the SAE World Congress?
Hennessy: IAV has a fully integrated approach to the industry. Our capabilities span the entire vehicle. IAV is the single source for OEM needs in powertrain, electrification, alternative fuels, active and functional safety, infotainment, fleet development and more.
AI: What do you think about the shortage of high-quality manpower in the automotive industry, and how do you hope that the IAV luncheon interaction will help create an interest in automotive jobs?
Hennessy: It’s no secret that the automotive industry is in need of talented engineers. The development of this next generation of workers starts while they’re still in school. We hope that by hosting events like the Young Professionals Luncheon and sponsoring collegiate organizations we can open the lines of communication and get engaged with these bright young minds early. The more knowledge they have and the more we can foster interest in the industry, the more successful we’ll be at finding the talented workforce we need. It also is a great opportunity for us to connect with this talent as we continue to grow and hire. We welcome the opportunity to introduce them to our culture and talk to them about their future, potentially with IAV. In addition to the luncheon opportunity, we hosted students from the College for Creative Studies in our booth. They sketched photos representative of conversations in the booth as a takeaway for booth visitors.
AI: What are some of IAV’s strengths in Ethernet technologies which you showcased at the SAE World Congress?
Hennessy: IAV’s Ethernet technology development is rooted in its understanding of the future vehicle functions desired to enable a fundamental change in the driving experience within the vehicle. Previously, owners have accepted the need to push buttons to enable certain features. However, over the past few years the integration of infotainment systems into the vehicle has driven the need for a new approach to the user interaction. The features and content now available within the vehicle seem limitless. However, accessing these features is often cumbersome and sometimes not as intuitive as someone would like when driving down the highway.
Drivers cannot be expected to prompt their way through a series of menus and detailed configuration settings. In the future, the vehicle must be aware of the driver and the surrounding environment to offer solutions to questions the driver has not yet asked. This level of situational awareness and cognitive approach to improving the user experience will require a large amount of data flow and computational power. IAV’s focus on automotive Ethernet is meant to address the infrastructure and data flow constraints that will prevent the realization of cognitive algorithms in the future.
AI: How would you describe IAV’s approach to vehicle safety?
Hennessy: Our approach is unique in that our strategy focuses on employing more of a “top down” analysis. We take a look at the end goal and future objective – such as autonomous driving – and then help automakers meet that goal. We take careful steps to ensure the solutions we develop meet both the short and longterm customer objectives for the technology evolution planned for a particular vehicle platform.
As the features for driver assistance and active safety system functionalities are developed it is critical to understand the sense technologies and their limitations, so that the appropriate specifications and selections can be made. Additionally, the algorithms that leverage these sensors must be robust enough to handle the high degree of variability feasible with vehicles operating in rain or snow, as well as in low light conditions.
Finally, the output control from these algorithms to the vehicle chassis systems such as steering and brake systems are of the high level of safety criticality, so all potential failure modes and fault handling scenarios must be identified and tested in a systematic and methodical manner.
AI: How do you see smartphones changing the face of vehicle safety/electronics?
Hennessy: Smartphones will clearly have an impact on the user experience within the vehicle. The information available about the user, their preferences and behavior patterns can be invaluable in helping to improve the dynamic experience within the vehicle Additionally, smartphone integration is expected to provide a more direct link between the owner and their vehicle. However, relying upon smart phones for the execution of critical active safety features is less likely in the short to medium term, as this would require some significant advancement in interface standardization, as well as significant improvements in computing power.
AI: Tell us about IAV’s the new high-voltage systems?
Hennessy: IAV has a comprehensive portfolio of highvoltage system development competence. IAV’s approach has been to develop the building blocks and infrastructure required to enable the realization of new technologies. These competencies are focused upon power electronics, machine specification and design, battery pack design and development, as well as battery and hybrid system supervisory controls. We have the necessary expertise to not only support our customers when integrating these technologies, but are also able to drive the specification and analysis of the component and sub-system performance to assure that the system solution is fully optimized to meet the customer performance, efficiency, quality and cost objectives.
AI: What the new technologies you hope to introduce this year?
Hennessy: The topics on display in our booth this year bore testament to the wide array of technological challenges that we pursue. However, as a consultant much of our work is conducted behind the scenes in support of our OEM and Tier 1 customers. Our commitment to customer confidentiality prevents us from sharing many of the cutting-edge technologies that we are pursuing. But, as we look ahead, we can confidently state that the combustion engine still has a large potential for improved system efficiency gains and the additive integration of hybridization will enable significant fuel consumption reduction from where the technology exists in production today. The vehicle electronics space continues to evolve to deliver enhanced user experience and interaction. The technology is evolving at such a rapid pace that full autonomous operation is feasible and scalable within the next 10 years. This is truly an exciting time to be an engineer in the automotive industry.