Machines are still learning to do what humans already can. Continental is at the forefront when it comes to new high-performance computers and supercomputers for vehicles.
Many functions in modern vehicles require their own electronic control unit or ECU, functions such as the airbag, air conditioning system or mobile network connection. As a result, depending on equipment levels, one automobile may have over 100 ECUs on board. A modern mid-range car also contains over two kilometers of electronic wiring, which supplies the various systems with energy and allows them to communicate with each other. After all, voice- or touch-operated displays may be attractive and convenient, but they require lots of computing power – especially as they become larger, smarter and snazzier.
In the future, autonomous driving in particular will generate gigantic volumes of data, and complexity will also increase tremendously as vehicles become more connected. This will be too much for the electronics of current models to handle. So for the intelligent cars of the future, we need new architecture. Continental saw this trend coming early on and is responding to it with intelligent high-performance computers (HCP). Each of these computers occupies a circuit board roughly the size of an A4 sheet of paper, but its data transmission speed is many times faster than standard wiring.
So how do customers benefit from having these new high-performance computers (HPC) in their cars? Put simply, they get almost infinite flexibility. Users can easily install the apps and services of their choice in the car, just as they would on a smartphone. Security loopholes can be remotely patched, and soon it will even be possible to install new driving functions without the car having to visit the workshop – all done wirelessly via the mobile communications network or Wi-Fi.
This means the car stays up to date even years after it was purchased. High-performance computers also make costly product recalls due to software errors a thing of the past. Continental developed this solution in collaboration with its subsidiary Elektrobit.
Volkswagen’s new ID.3 electric car will come with two high-performance computers on board. One of these is developed by Continental, and its role is to manage the various functions and data flows in the car – it’s the “electronic brain” where everything comes together. This enables wireless software updates throughout the whole vehicle, reducing the amount of wiring and installation space needed, which cuts costs for the manufacturer and means the vehicle stays right up to date.
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Current press images on the topic of high-performance computers from Continental.