As we look ahead this year, automotive designers and OEMs are going to look at different ways to accelerate the development and manufacturing process to shorten the overall release cycle so that more time can be spent designing highly customized solutions.
Here are five predictions on what’s coming down the road for the automotive industry in 2022:
More Edge Computing Power
As we advance in autonomous-vehicle capabilities, more compute power is needed at the edge. This compute power is required to accommodate the wide range and volume of sensors and devices necessary to perform specific aspects of autonomous driving and accommodate driver amenities.
By providing compute power at the edge, overall processing is accelerated and overall data throughput on the vehicle’s network is reduced.
However, even more compute power will move to the central core of the vehicle as the next generation of consolidated computing platforms become more prevalent. The next generation, likely to be introduced late this year, will consolidate ancillary services and systems-on-chips (SoCs) that are typically spread throughout the vehicle.
In that central compute core, we’re going to see fewer, more powerful SoCs each containing multiple computing cores as well as specialized cores for virtualization. The virtualization function within the SoC will provide services to the vehicle that typically would have been offered via a dedicated microcontroller or a dedicated electronic control unit (ECU).
Automotive Cybersecurity Will Become More Integrated Into Automotive Organizations
This year, auto manufacturers are going to ask many important questions involving how to implement automotive security standards, specifically ISO/SAE 21434, which includes security management, project-dependent cybersecurity management, continuous cybersecurity activities, associated risk-assessment methods and cybersecurity within the product development and post-development stages of road vehicles.
In 2022, organizations need to prioritize cybersecurity and weave these activities into their established programs.
Digital Twins Will Become More Prevalent in Automotive Design and Testing
The need for digital-twin technologies in the automotive industry will only increase in 2022 as customized processors and more software are managed and delivered through the automotive software pipeline. System architects need to answer many questions about brand-new ECUs, such as: How do they operate, what is the packaging and when can software start to be tested on it? The hardware required to start software testing can take months, if not years, to be ready. When a digital twin is available, that time shrinks dramatically. As designers are developing the next iteration of hardware design, they can model it in a digital-twin version and make it rapidly available to software developers.
Electric-Vehicle Era Begins in Earnest
It is very likely that 2022 will be the tipping point where we start to see battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) become mainstream.
OEMs will introduce models that cover a wide spectrum of needs, from lower-end, entry-point BEVs to high-end BEVs that have all the capabilities of cruising, extended range, traditional driver aids, smart capabilities around autonomous driving, highway driver assist, high driving automation, etc.
Manufacturers are starting to nail down what consumers are really looking for in their vehicles along with solving technical challenges, such as material availability and cost of manufacturing.
People May Start Moving Away From Individually Owned Vehicles
Will group-owned or fleet-owned vehicles become more of the norm versus individually owned vehicles, especially in high-density metropolitan areas? Consumers who buy into this model have access to a vehicle that they can schedule or call on-demand and receive in 30 minutes or less.
We have already seen many organizations and startups provide this type of solution, but there is a lot of room to grow and understand what consumers are looking for in this market segment. The result will depend on many factors, including how consumers perceive potential COVID-19 (or other pathogen) transmissibility within a shared vehicle over the next 12 months.
Ultimately, auto manufacturers will bring innovation and creative problem solving to the table in 2022 to address challenges caused by the supply-chain disruption, economic effects of COVID-19, changing consumer preferences, new cybersecurity standards and the need to develop sustainable options.
Chris Clark (pictured, left) is senior manager – Automotive Software & Security for the Synopsys Automotive Group, which helps develop secure OTA software updates and in-vehicle apps.