National Microelectronics Institute

NMI launch UK automotive electronics innovation network to drive change and global competitiveness

Warwick University, 26th September 2012: The UK electronic systems trade association NMI has today launched the Automotive Electronic Systems Innovation Network (AESIN). The creation of the network is supported by many of the country’s largest car manufacturers and supply chain partners, including Jaguar LandRover, Lotus, Nissan, McLaren Electronic Systems, Freescale, Infineon, Renesas and Visteon.

 

  

 

“Vehicle design has changed dramatically in recent times and cars are no longer simple mechanical machines; they are now dependent on electronic systems that make them greener, safer and more comfortable,” said Derek Boyd, CEO of NMI. “A further revolution is underway, not only with a shift towards electric vehicles but also with greater deployment of wireless communications for infotainment, vehicle to vehicle and infrastructure connectivity.

 

“The UK has a strong base of vehicle, motor-sport and electronic-engineering capability and this new network provides a specialist home for electronic systems innovation and supply-chain development. There’s already momentum with key players and we’d like to invite more partners to come and join the network.”

 

The AESIN launch took place during NMI’s Automotive Electronic Systems conference, held at the University of Warwick.

 

AESIN’s programme of initiatives will work in alignment with the UK Automotive Council and activity will include technology days that showcase innovation, innovation seminars to reduce technical and business model constraints and incubation sessions to progress ideas with UK Funding support.

 

Before the event, Nissan’s Malcolm Holmes said: “The ever increasing use of electronics throughout our vehicles has allowed us to make leaps forward in safety and efficiency. EVs [electric vehicles] have become a reality and electronics continue to significantly reduce the CO2 from our IC vehicles. Working more closely with the key innovators within the UK electronics industry allows us to steer our product strategy towards our goal of providing innovative and valuable technology to everyone.”

 

Freescale’s Steve Wainright also stated: “The shift to designing cars that work with a user’s phone presents a significant opportunity for manufacturers; but, as driver distraction causes 25pc of accidents in the US and 16pc of all traffic fatalities at an estimated costs of $230bn per year, it can’t just be enabling chatting or emailing in the car. The collaboration between electronic firms and car manufacturers is paramount to define the next human machine interfaces and graphics solutions that allow safe connectivity.”

 

 “One of the key agendas of AESIN is to take a step away from what’s currently done and determine the true best practice,” said Tim Strafford from McLaren Electronic Systems. “The constraints and competition in F1, Indycar and NASCAR, have made for an excellent environment for innovation.

 

“One good example comes in the system architecture; from engine control to the electric seats, there are now countless electronic control units in today’s road cars, which each add weight, space and cost. In F1, the drive to cut space and weight allowed us optimise the electronic architecture and we now use a single ECU at the heart of the car to control and monitor everything; from torque based engine control with precise fuel injection and ignition timing of an engine rotating at up to 18,000rpm, right through to elementary control of the driver's drink pump.”

 

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