Modern car features now require new EE architecture solutions


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EE architecture to cope with the ever-evolving car functions

In the automotive industry, EE architecture refers to the overall design and organisation of the electrical and electronic systems that control various functions of a vehicle and it plays a crucial role in modern cars. This is because it involves the integration of various systems such as powertrain control, chassis control, body control, and infotainment systems, among others, into a unified network. This network is designed to ensure a seamless communication and coordination between the different components, allowing for improved vehicle performance, safety, and reliability.

The EE architecture typically includes processing units, sensors, actuators, wiring, and various communication protocols. The architecture must be designed to be highly reliable and resilient, as well as scalable and adaptable to accommodate the evolving needs of modern vehicles. Additionally, it must be compliant with various regulations and standards related to vehicle safety, emissions, and other requirements.

The use of electrical and electronic systems in cars dates back to the early 20th century, with the introduction of electrical starter motors, headlights, and ignition systems. However, the modern EE architecture as we know it today began to take shape in the 1980s, with the introduction of more advanced electronic control units (ECUs) that could manage various systems in the vehicle.

In the 1990s, with the increasing demand for more complex and sophisticated vehicle features, such as advanced safety systems, navigation, and infotainment, the EE architecture became even more critical.

This led to the development of more advanced networking protocols such as CAN (Controller Area Network) and LIN (Local Interconnect Network), which allowed for more efficient and reliable communication between various systems in the vehicle. Since then, the EE architecture has continued to evolve and become even more complex and sophisticated, with the integration of more advanced sensors, processors, and communication protocols.

Today, the EE architecture is a critical component of modern cars, playing a vital role in ensuring the safety, performance, and reliability of the vehicle.

There is a strong link between the use of EE architecture and the number of features in a car. As more features are added to modern cars, the complexity of the vehicle's electrical and electronic systems increases (see Picture 1), making it necessary to use an EE architecture to manage and coordinate all the different systems and functions.

Picture 1 : Feature increase implies coplexity to manage
*Automotive embedded software design using formal methods, Université Paris-Saclay, Vassil TODOROV.
For example, in older cars, there were typically only a few basic electrical systems such as the starter motor, headlights, and ignition system. However, in modern cars, there are a wide variety of advanced systems and features such as engine control, transmission control, power steering, anti-lock braking, traction control, air conditioning, infotainment, and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).


The increased complexity across the time pushed the evolution of the EE architecture from distributed, to domain controller to zonal/ centralise EE architecture using different communication technology as LIN, CAN, and Ethernet. Today, to manage and coordinate all of these systems and functions requires a highly sophisticated EE architecture that can handle the complexity and ensure a seamless communication and coordination between the different components. Therefore, the more features a car has, the more complex and sophisticated its EE architecture needs to be to ensure proper functionality and reliability.

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