The Evolution from Classic Cars to Computers on Wheels

The Evolution from Classic Cars to Computers on Wheels

Connected Vehicle Data Series 1 of 7:
A quick look at how environmental regulations as well as the commoditization of computing power and sensors have changed vehicles into rich data sources.

@wiley_19#7828 (DIMO Media Contributor)


Growing environmental concerns about vehicle emissions in the 1970s led to the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and implementation of new regulations such as the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the Corporate Average Fuel Economy program. In response, automakers developed electrical control systems for the engine since the traditional mechanical control systems were no longer able to meet the increasingly stringent requirements.

In the following decades, commoditization of computing power and sensors led to electrical control systems spreading throughout vehicles. Manufacturers deployed this new control strategy to functions outside of the engine, from steering and braking to locking of doors.

Credit: What Is a Software-Defined Vehicle? by APTIV 

Today, vehicles consist of hundreds of sensors and 70+ electronic control units (ECUs—think mini computers). These sensors capture as many as 175 data points about the vehicle's actions, environment, and user inputs. The ECUs then convert this information into digital data packets and broadcast them onto the vehicle's communication networks. In certain cases, they’re broadcast out to the world as well.

In the next post, we'll dive into these data points to better understand what your vehicle knows about itself, its environment, and you.


Drive on to the next post:

The Anatomy of Connected Vehicles and the Data They Produce
Connected Vehicle Data Series 2 of 5: Just as we use our sensory systems to gather information while driving, our vehicles use sensors to collect over 100 data points on the vehicle itself, the environment, and you, the user.@wiley_19#7828 (DIMO dMedia Contributor) Successful operation requires the…

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