October 31, 2005
Automotive Solutions from Mentor
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on EDACafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Sweden. VCT's product portfolio includes network design tools, embedded software and test and validation tools for major automotive networks.
In March 2000, VCT joined Motorola Audi, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Volvo Car Corporation, and Volkswagen to form the LIN consortium that defined a cost-competitive, sub-bus network solution. LIN complements Controller Area Network (CAN) solutions by providing customers with lower cost connections within local network clusters.
telematics and man-machine-interface.
Oct. 6, 2005 Mentor announced it had significantly extended its set of electrical and electronic design solutions for the automotive market with the recently acquired Volcano automotive networking solutions and SystemVision, a new modeling and simulation tool for automotive mechatronics sub-systems.
Before this announcement I had an opportunity to talk with Larry Anderson, Director of Marketing for Mentor's Automotive Networking Business Unit.
What is going on in the automotive sector at Mentor Graphics?
What we are seeing in this release are two things, a kind of automotive initiative of multiple products that address the electrical and electronic design process in automotive and the second is specifically two new items to that portfolio in the areas of automotive networking tool and mechatronic simulation.
We are doing more product development focused on emerging challenges, new markets such as transportation which will break down into auto, aero and rail. Obviously one of the things we have been doing is acquiring new technology from outside companies. When we do make acquisitions with companies that typically have small sales and marketing organizations, we marry them with our global sales and marketing distribution. It is really a win-win situation.
What is happening in the automotive industry to create so much interest with Mentor Graphics?
The bottom line is that automotive has become a sort of distributed computing challenge, distributed computing on wheels. Some of the high end luxury vehicles have upwards of 80 to 90 electronic control units, ECUs, all networked together controlling all of these distributed mechatronic systems like airbag inflation, antilock breaking, door lock, you name it.
We do see some differences in that time to market is not always the critical factor in this industry. It is really time to market plus warranty costs. Avoiding warranty cost in many cases is approaching even out stripping development cost and risk management and liability.
mechatronics simulation. Mentor is the only EDA company with its own embedded software division. We also have a host of embedded IP that is targeted to automotive over and above the normal markets we serve like consumer electronics. A host of tools there.
You know Mentor from doing a lot of business in telecommunication, having customers like Ericsson, Nokia, Lucent etc. A lot of business was done in automotive was to tier two suppliers, the big semiconductor houses: Infineon, Freescale. We have done a lot of business especially with our cable harness tools in the major OEMs. We have a lot of major OEMs that are Mentor customers along with their tier one suppliers who are doing complex subsystem design. We have moved Mentor up in the value chain so to speak in automotive. Our goal would be that with these new tool additions to have an even more robust portfolio for these types of customers.
The trend in the nineteen seventies was for pretty simplistic electronic systems, maybe 3 or 4 systems, if you were lucky enough to have air conditioning. Pretty simple networks. Not a lot of traffic on these networks between the systems.
Since that time there has been an explosion in the number of electronic systems. A typical vehicle today might have a couple of dozen systems.
Each of these could be comprised of multiple ECUs that are networked and running a good amount of embedded software. To make it more complicated they're all talking to each other. Lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control are interacting. Body electronics in the man-machine interface are interacting. They are all basically sending signals over the same network. It's really become a difficult process because the OEM is getting a lot of these subsystem designs from their tier one suppliers and they are trying to integrate all of them to work at a system level. The tools we are going to talk about really address that system level design.
to changing markets like the emerging market in China or for example a new hybrid vehicle for fuel efficiency.
software to differentiate their products.
At the same time they are being challenged to get more and more vehicle launches out, a lot of these are because of specialty brands like high end sports brand. Some of these brands are due to fuel efficiency like hybrid. Some brands are being developed for new and emerging markets. There's a huge opportunity that a lot of vendors see in China.
The vendors are trying to get out more products with more variants and options. Unfortunately they are doing this with less budget. R&D budgets remain flat at best. They need to develop more with less, be more efficient and meet all the constraints we just talked about.
You can find the full EDACafe event calendar here.
To read more news, click here.
-- Jack Horgan, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.
Be the first to review this article