4Q 2023

Next-Gen E/E Architectures: Wiring the Car of the Future

Electronic control systems have been used in vehicles for nearly 50 years, and for much of that time, the electrical and electronic (E/E) architecture has evolved in an ad hoc manner. Each new feature provided to an automaker from a supplier consisted of a set of sensors and actuators with an electronic control unit with deeply embedded software. The proliferation of new features implemented in this way has led to greatly increased complexity and cost, and this architecture is largely incompatible with software-defined vehicles.

In 2012, Tesla launched the first next-generation E/E architecture on the Model S; the rest of the auto industry, including both OEMs and suppliers, needs to head in this direction. The shift to next-gen E/E architectures is accompanied by totally new software architectures to enable full, rapid update capabilities and the ability to update the hardware and software independently. In addition to allowing more frequent product and feature updates, these architectural changes can enable cost and quality improvements and make vehicles more resilient to supply chain disruptions.

A number of challenges are associated with these changes. Automakers and suppliers need more engineers with expertise in electronics design, network design, and particularly modern software development. Suppliers also need to focus on the power efficiency of compute platforms, especially as the industry transitions to EVs.

Pages 16
Tables | Charts | Figures 5
  • Why is automotive E/E architecture changing?
  • What is required to support this change from a software perspective?
  • What are the benefits of a modern E/E architecture?
  • What are the challenges of a modern E/E architecture that need to be overcome?
  • How does the customer benefit from next-generation E/E architecture?
  • Automakers
  • Suppliers
  • Automotive software developers
  • Silicon vendors
  • Contract manufacturers
  • Policymakers
  • Transportation regulators
  • Investors




How Have Vehicles Been Wired Until Now?

No Future Thinking

Minimum Viable Compute

Hardening Everything

Networking Everything

Why Is Change Needed?

Enabling Lifelong Learning


Data Centers on Wheels

Keeping Up with the Supply Chain

Maintaining Cybersecurity and Resilience

What Does This Mean?

Replacing Wires with Bars

Efficient High Performance Computing

AI Makes the Problem Even More Challenging

Bringing the Software Teams Together

What Do We Recommend?

Moving Complexity from Hardware to Software

Consider the Software Options

Target Interoperability

  • Total Addressable Market: OTA-Capable and Connected Vehicles on the Road, World Markets, 2022-2031
  • Annual Software-Defined Vehicle Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2022-2031
  • 2017 Chevrolet Bolt Wiring Harness
  • 2017 Chevrolet Bolt Wiring Harness, Modified to Accommodate Cruise ADS
  • Aptiv Smart Vehicle Architecture Featuring Bus Bars in Place of Traditional Wiring
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