PCB007 Magazine

PCB-Sept2015

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32 The PCB Magazine • September 2015 Examples of Automotive PCB Applications • Airbag deployment • Antilock brake systems • Audio & video equipment • Comfort control units • Communication equipment • DC/AC power converters • Digital displays • Electronic computer unit (ECU)/car computers • Electronic mirror controls/automatic dimming • Emergency assist • Engine coolant level (ECL) monitors • Engine timing systems • Global positioning systems (GPS) • Interior LED lighting systems • LCD displays • LED Brake Lights • Navigation equipment • Power distribution junction box • Power relays • Radar & radio systems • Remote diagnostic systems • Security systems • Transmission controls • Running lights • Rear LED lights Are Cars Too Complex? I received a recall notice the other day for my 2014 truck, but it wasn't for anything me- chanical; it was for the entertainment system. The recall said a chip upgrade was needed to prevent hackers from stealing personal infor- mation through the entertainment system and any smartphones connected through it. This was amazing to me, so I did some research and found that not only can someone hack into the system, but with the right equipment they can control the vehicle remotely. How scary is that? Then I found this recent story about a car whose system was hacked while it was being driven down the road. Future Applications Now that cars are more mechanically sound than ever before, the vehicle's infotainment system will become the next major system to continue to advance. With today's tech-savvy consumer there are three things that "smart" systems must be: easy to use, fast, and familiar. In fact, many automakers are mimicking smart- phone interfaces into their next-generation infotainment systems to be sure to hit these three attributes. Ford's 2016 Sync 3 version will feature a more responsive "capacitive" touch- screen that users can swipe and pinch to zoom, just like a smartphone screen. The smartphone- inspired interface features large touch targets, with high contrast, which make it better for au- tomotive use. On the luxury side of things, Audi debuted the interior for the next-generation Q7, which borrows the virtual cockpit from the 2016 Audi TT. That environment includes a 12-inch TFT display that doubles as the gauge array and infotainment system. For the Q7, Audi adds a touchpad with pinch-to-zoom control and "haptic" feedback (meaning you get a tactile response, such as a vibration, when you touch the pad). It also features improved voice control that will respond to such natural-voice com- mands as, "Where can I fill up?" or "Where is the nearest restaurant?" Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are solu- tions that Apple and Google use to integrate their smartphones into the vehicle. Both sys- tems focus on the key features that a person wants from a smartphone when driving: navi- gation data, messaging, music and phone. The systems take a different approach with how they display the data, but the goal is the same: reducing distraction by getting the driver to put down the phone and rely instead on voice func- tionality and the presentation of data on the ve- hicle's screen. Hyundai, meanwhile, announced that its new Display Audio System ditches the CD player and satellite navigation system to keep costs down and allow more people to have ac- cess to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This means you won't have to buy the top-of-the- line vehicle to get the latest in smartphone in- tegration. thE rIght ApproACh COMPuTER ON WHEELS continues

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