Global automotive technology company Aptiv, unveiled its new Smart Vehicle Architecture (SVA) at CES on Tuesday. SVA is a flexible and scalable vehicle-level architecture designed to reduce vehicle complexity during assembly, while improving safety and support software for connected and autonomous vehicles.
As vehicle mechanical systems are replaced with electrical components, such as in electric, hybrid, self-driving and connected vehicles, today’s architectures will no longer be able to support the complex software and robust hardware demands that these vehicles will require.
In addition, with automakers spending billions developing electric vehicles, Aptiv’s SVA is designed to support a larger amount software-based features to automakers so they can manufacturer vehicles more efficiently.
Aptiv, formally known as Delphi Automotive, says its modular architecture is designed for the auto factory of the future.
One of the biggest benefits of the SVA is reducing complexity for automakers. Traditionally, cars are manufactured and sold as single device composed of embedded software and hardware, making it difficult to improve upon individual features once the vehicle is produced.
A modern vehicle may have over two miles of wiring connecting up to 100 ECUs for various vehicle systems, such as power windows, cruise control, comfort systems, infotainment and powertrain controls.
The SVA consolidates all of the compute power into more manageable zone controllers, separating it from I/O to allow for the easy addition of new features as they are developed.
The zone controllers provide an interface to the various vehicle sensors and systems, as well as redundancy for additional safety. The zone controllers are wired together using Aptiv’s “Dock & Lock” connection systems to simplify vehicle assembly. Using common sub-assemblies result in 25% fewer SKUs, according to Aptiv.
For redundancy, Aptiv employed a “dual ring” topology setup in its SVA. It uses a ring topology, where each node connects to two other nodes, forming a continuous pathway or “ring” for signals to travel through each node. This approach handles heavier loads better than traditional star topology, allowing Aptiv to achieve the redundancy required for safety in a more cost-effective way.
Aptiv’s SVA offers automotive-grade compute and signal and power distribution throughout the vehicle. Aptiv envisioned its SVA as a unified backbone consisting of three critical systems: compute, network and power. The company says that the SVA reduce weight and size of a vehicle’s computer systems by around 25%.
For automakers, adding complexity to vehicles is costly. Aptiv’s AVA offers a more cost-effective solution providing standardized vehicle interfaces that are scalable. The open platform enables vehicle manufacturers to build feature-rich, highly-automated and connected vehicles with the highest level of cybersecurity standards.
The AVA also allows automakers and third-party developers to create software applications independent of the hardware which then can be reused in other vehicle platforms.
“Automakers will need to adopt a new vehicle architecture to unlock software innovation and actually bring to market the innovative concepts on display across CES,” said Kevin Clark, President and Chief Executive Officer, Aptiv. “As a full systems solutions provider, uniquely positioned with both the brain and nervous system of the vehicle, we know that Smart Vehicle Architecture is the right approach to enable the future of mobility.”
With traditional vehicle architectures, testing and validation of each system must be done sequentially. However, SVA’s abstraction of software from the hardware and separation of I/O from compute enables independent parallel development cycles, shortening time to market and allowing for significant software reuse.
Aptiv’s Open Server Platform supports over-the-air software and firmware updates, as well as performance upgrades, allowing automakers to upgrade vehicles as new features are introduced. It also provides data analytics for all of the data generated by a connected vehicle, as well as an open platform for developers to build third-party add ons that can be integrated into a production vehicle.
Aptiv partnered with semiconductor company Valens to develop its new SVA. Valens is a leader in ultra-high-speed in-vehicle connectivity products.
Valens’ automotive chipset enables the transmission of ultra-high-speed data over a simple infrastructure, simplifying in-vehicle connectivity and supporting centralized and remote computer systems. The company’s ultra-high speed HDBaseT data transmission connects a wide range of vehicle interfaces, including Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe), Ethernet, audio and controls over the same link.
“Valens is a terrific partner, and we look forward to continuing our work together to help automakers reduce vehicle architecture complexity, unlock new software-enabled functionality, and deliver better life cycle management, while empowering our customers to fully control the software that defines the user experience of their vehicles.” said Lee Bauer, Vice President, Mobility Architecture Group at Aptiv.
Aptiv expects its SVA will reduce system integration and testing costs, as well as software-related warranty costs, by roughly 75%.