Connectivity, smartphone-inspired user experience and autonomous driving are the megatrends of the mobility industry. This requires a multitude of sensors, actuators as well as cameras in the vehicle – which then also generate immense amounts of data that have to be transmitted and processed in the car. With today’s standard E/E architectures, the new features cannot be fully integrated into the vehicle. For this reason, the development service provider EDAG Group has developed a concept for a zone-based, service-oriented E/E architecture as part of the “ZOBAS” funding project.
Service-oriented E/E architectures (SOA) are widely used in the world of commercial IT. The technology is also finding its way more and more into the automotive environment, with functions being centralised and used multiple times. An example of this is, for example, the outside temperature sensor, which provides the temperature value and which in turn can be used by several applications, such as air conditioning or the temperature display in the centre console display. With the project goal of developing a zone E/E architecture that is suitable for all mobility concepts, EDAG Engineering GmbH, together with the company Technica Engineering GmbH, started the funded project “ZOBAS” in 2020.
The completed project results have now been presented to the public. The most important development goals were the introduction of SOA into the vehicle environment and the reduction of the number of control units (ECUs) in the vehicle. This is because in today’s vehicles, depending on the range of functions, up to 100 ECUs are distributed. In a zone E/E architecture, on the other hand, the sensors/actuators are connected to the next zone controller; the function of the previous ECUs is implemented by software. In the “ZOBAS” project, the number of ECUs could be significantly reduced depending on the vehicle equipment. This also significantly reduces the complexity of the wiring harness variants required for this.
Gerhard Becker, project manager of the funded project “ZOBAS”, describes the project scope of the EDAG Group: “We took care of the development of the complete E/E architecture and the integration of the central computer/zone controllers of the company Technica Engineering. The result is an architecture that reduces the weight of the wiring harness by about 30 percent. Another advantage of our innovative E/E architecture is the reduction of individual wiring harnesses as point-to-point connections. With a maximum length of 2.5 metres, wiring harnesses can be produced automatically and installed in the vehicle. Manufacturing can thus be relocated close to the production sites – a major competitive advantage for both car manufacturers and suppliers.” Another advantage: in addition to the “update over the air”, vehicle diagnostics can also be carried out from anywhere in the future.
The new type of application development allows third-party providers to make their services or apps available in a kind of AppStore for vehicles. Due to the high data volume and the real-time requirements, automotive Ethernet is used for the communication between the control units.
ZOBAS was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics. The project executing organisation is TÜV Rheinland Consulting GmbH. The results of the project are to be further investigated in a subsequent research project. The focus is on the integration of artificial intelligence for the development of zone-based, service-oriented EE architectures.