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PCB-Sept2015

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12 The PCB Magazine • September 2015 FEAturE by Jason Marsh insulectro For the past several decades, modern cars have not changed much. They have four wheels, an engine, a radio (possibly even an 8-track) and seatbelts. Over time, however, cars' electronics parts have evolved faster than any other part of a car with enhancements like power windows, power mirrors, seat heaters and GPS navigation. For the first time in history, the cost of the elec- tronics in the car has surpassed the cost of the raw steel (steel historically represents about 22% of the manufacturing cost). The combination of growing auto demand, coupled with increasing electronic content means significant dollars. IMS Research estimates that the global market for automotive electronics will reach $240 bil- lion by 2020 (Figure 1). So, what is driving such a rapid prolifera- tion of electronics in automobiles? One report indicates that in the 1970s, luxury car electron- ics were roughly 5% of the cost of the vehicle's BOM. This climbed to 15% in 2005, and today, including the hybrids and full electric vehicles, this total can be greater than 35%. How impor- tant are these new electronics? According to IEEE Spectrum, a late-model S Class Mercedes contains over 100 million lines of code across 70–100 microprocessors for everything from stereo to emissions to airbags, while a Boeing Dreamliner, for comparison, requires about 6.5 million lines of code to operate. So where is all this growth happening, and what does it mean to PCB designers and fab- ricators? In the broadest sense there are three general categories that are rapidly evolving (Figure 2). 1. Functional electronics: Critical to the op- eration of the vehicle, it includes: ABS; auto- matic transmission control; starters; fuel injec- Detroit vs. Silicon Valley: What's Driving the Proliferation of Automotive Electronics?

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