Sunday, March 6, 2011




With more than one hundred years of history, the auto industry has entered a new business environment. Several mega trends will continuously sharpen auto industry in the future. These mega trends can be identified as over-capacity in developed markets, rising of emerging markets, globalization, technology advances, regulation and environmental consideration, and market fragmentation and product proliferation. To cope with these new business challenges, OEMs and their suppliers are striving to build up scale by consolidation and globalization, accelerating their pace to launch new products, utilizing platform and modularity strategy. In this paper, a top-down approach is used to identify the evolution of various trends in auto industry.

Major Technological Trends

There are many recent trends that started emerging in automobile industry. Each of the trends will really change automobiles in a big way! Here is a list of few! Let’s take a look…

1. Green Engine and Alternate Fuels The desire to lessen environmental impacts and reduce oil dependence is spurring interest in alternative fuels and green technologies. The developments include electric cars, hybrid cars, air powered cars etc.

2. GPS Several years ago, the only cars that offered a built-in GPS system were luxury cars. Now more and more non-luxury cars come with them or at least offer a GPS as an option. The navigation systems themselves are improving quite a bit too as far as details and image quality goes. Instead of simply saying “turn left in 0.3 miles” they now say “turn left onto Main Street in 0.3 miles.” The text-to-speech technology has improved quite a bit. Then of course there’s the fact that the stand-alone GPS devices are quite affordable. They were one of the hottest selling products in the holiday season in 2008-2009!

3. Safety Engine management and electronic suspensions had lead to a new era for power train and safety features like air bags, power steering etc. It also leads to new braking systems, gear boxes and drive by wire technologies

Green Technology & Alternative Fuels


Hybrids use two or more power systems, such as a gasoline engine and an electric drive motor, to provide more efficient propulsion. Learn more about hybrids and what distinguishes them from other vehicles in Green Car’s section on hybrids

Electric Cars

Electric cars use one or more electric drive motors, powered by batteries, for zero-emission motoring. Electric cars are recharged by plugging into the grid


Ethanol is an alcohol-based alternative fuel made from biomass. As a popular alternative fuel, ethanol is typically used in the form of E85 to power flex fuel cars outfitted specifically to run on this blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Most ethanol today is produced from corn or sugar cane, although this will change as cheaper cellulosic ethanol made from fast growing woody grasses and other biomass becomes a reality

Hydrogen Cars & Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Hydrogen cars are among the cleanest cars on the road, emitting oxygen and water vapor only. Hydrogen is the cleanest burning of all liquid and gaseous alternative fuels

Natural Gas

Natural gas is a clean-burning alternative fossil fuel that can easily power internal combustion engine vehicles. The domestic abundance of natural gas makes it a highly attractive alternative fuel option


As a leading alternative fuel, biodiesel can be made from various sources including soybeans and biomass. Biodiesel can be used in most diesel powered cars without modification

Air Powered Cars

Air powered cars are relatively new to the green car scene. Compressed air is currently being explored as a viable 'alternative fuel' to efficiently power car engines with little or no environmental impact

GPS(Global Positioning System)

Within each of these segments, several new applications are emerging. For example, in the infotainment segment, navigation systems are popular with new cars. In the driver assistance segment, lane departure warning systems are assisting with driver safety. Several of these applications originated from the consumer market and are now used in automotive applications.

As automotive digital electrical systems and onboard networks increase, so does the amount of semiconductor content required for designing these electronic systems. This trend is expected to continue, as semiconductor content is projected to grow rapidly during the next 5 to 10 years. While the vehicle growth is projected to be flat, the semiconductor growth is projected to grow 9 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years (see Figure 2).


IMS Research, Strategy Analytics, Allied Business Intelligence.This phenomenal semiconductor growth is fueled by increasing multimedia-rich, in-cabin applications and safety applications such as lane departure warning systems.

Recent Developments in Auto mobiles – SAFETY

* An automotive night vision system is a driver assistance system to increase a vehicle driver's perception and seeing distance in darkness or poor weather beyond the reach of the vehicle's headlights. They are currently offered as optional equipment on certain premium vehicles.

* Adaptive Highbeam Assist is a new headlamp technology introduced in the new generation Mercedes-Benz e-class in spring 2009 which automatically and continuously adapts

the headlamp range to the distance of vehicles ahead or which are oncoming. It practically eliminates the difference between high and low beam, fusing them into one continuous adapting beam. Unlike conventional automatic headlight dimmers which simply switch between high beam and low beam, the new system continually adjusts the beam so that the headlamp cone falls just in front of other vehicles, at the same time always ensuring maximum possible range without dazzling other road users.

* Parking sensors are a technology that allows the driver of an automobile, truck, or commercial vehicle to be alerted to nearby objects in their path. Parking sensors are also known as backup sensors, parking sonar or just sonar

* Intelligent Parking Assist System (IPAS), also known as the Advanced Parking Guidance System(APGS) for Lexus models in the United States, is an automatic parking system

* Electronic stability control (ESC) is a computerized technology that improves the safety of a vehicle's stability by detecting and minimizing skids. When ESC detects loss of steering control, ESC automatically applies the brakes to help "steer" the vehicle where the driver intends to go

* A smart car is an automobile with artificial intelligence (or known as "AI") functionality. As automation technology has progressed, especially in the decades after the invention of the integrated circuit, more and more functions have been added to automobiles

Today’s Automobiles:

Automobiles today resemble “computers on wheels” because of the increasing number of digital systems under the hood and inside the passenger cabin. With each model year, vehicle manufacturers offer more sophisticated electronic systems addressing vehicle safety, telematics, and infotainment. The costs associated with these sophisticated systems are also rising. Automotive electronics now account for 22 percent of a vehicle's cost and are projected to increase to up to 40 percent by 2010.

* Programmable Logic Advantage

* Evolution of “Platform” Concept

* Fast Innovation Cycle

* Increasing Digital Content

* Product Obsolescence

* Automotive Quality

Programmable Logic Advantage for Automotive Systems

Historically, ASICs and ASSPs were the semiconductor option of choice because of their cost-effective silicon solution. However, key market factors can result in the end of the ASIC-dominated era in automotive silicon use.

These factors include: The rising cost of ASIC development, the increased demand for digital-intensive features, and the precipitous drop in the price of a CMOS logic gate due to smaller semiconductor technologies. Manufacturers are looking for a powerful yet cost-effective design platform to meet both the content and networking needs of their increasingly complex digital systems.

Programmable logic devices (PLDs) offer a powerful, viable alternative to ASICs and ASSPs because they significantly reduce engineering development time and the cost of multiple silicon iterations. Unlike ASICs that need re-spins as designs change, PLDs can be programmed and reprogrammed as needed during the design process.

They can be upgraded in the field if requirements change even after the devices are implemented in the vehicle. Without the up-front, non-recurring engineering (NRE) costs and minimum order quantities associated with ASICs, PLDs are a cost-effective choice for system design.

Over the past three to four years, PLDs have grown tremendously in the automotive space. PLD growth is expected to continue to rise at 40-50 percent CAGR over the next five years.

Evolution of “Platform” Concept

The evolution of automotive designs has moved toward the “platform” concept where car model differentiation is provided with one basic design. The convergence of audio, video, and data in the automotive space is further fueling the platform concept.

Fast Automotive Innovation Cycle

Today, a typical automotive design cycle is approximately 24 to 36 months, which is much faster than the 60-month life cycle from five years ago. Short design cycle times place tremendous pressure on system suppliers to quickly prototype and demonstrate their designs to OEMs. Expect this trend to shorter development cycles to continue. PLDs are well known for their faster time-to-market while still meeting the quality, cost, and technical performance requirements of the OEMs.

Increasing Digital Content

Digital content such as navigation systems, rear seat entertainment systems, and driver assistance applications have increased and are now considered mainstream products.

Product Obsolescence

The fear of product obsolescence from ASIC and ASSP suppliers is driving the use of PLDs in automotive electronic designs. These factors require automotive designers to have a design solution that not only offers superior flexibility, but also meets performance requirements within their cost targets. PLDs, with their low cost structure and abundant device resources, provide such a solution.

Automotive Quality

As automotive digital content and control systems move to high definition, wireless communication, and multi-gigabit bandwidths, automakers and system OEMs will continue to demand top-notch quality semiconductor devices. Altera’s quality record and service to over

13,000 customers worldwide over a 20+ year history demonstrate that we are committed to supporting the highest quality and reliability customer requirements.


Future Cars & Future Technology

Cars in the future will evolve to run cleaner and faster than ever before, because technologies are being continuously developed by automakers, engine manufacturers, and component suppliers. While more mainstream technologies like hybrid cars and hydrogen fuel cells continue to push the edges of today’s car technology, all new innovations will be introduced in the future, which also contribute to better fuel economy, lower greenhouse gases and improved tailpipe emissions. The various features under study are:

* Energy reflecting windshields could also produce electricity

* New Technology has also developed a second system that can generate electricity from moving trucks, buses, and other large load-bearing vehicles

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