Vitesco Technologies, a leading international supplier of modern drive technologies and electrification solutions, has announced the development of a new Master Controller Motion (MCM) that supports a future trend in powertrain control.
The growing number of electrified powertrain topologies and a constantly growing number of functions are making the current practice of allocating each function to a separate electronic control unit (ECU) overly complex. As a result, the electric and electronic architecture (E/E architecture) of the vehicle powertrain is beginning to change
A new approach is to replace the many networked ECUs by a single, high-performance controller. This way, the complexity of the connected stand-alone ECUs is transferred to the single controller. For this new E/E architecture, Vitesco Technologies is developing the Master Controller Motion (MCM).
“The current complexity of many networked stand-alone ECUs in the drivetrain domain can be better managed with a central controller and by software. For that purpose, you have to develop the future hardware so that it matches the requirements of the software and is scalable. This is what we do with the Master Controller Motion. Like a small server, it delivers everything that makes the vehicle drive. Single functions can be flashed onto the MCM individually, and they can be updated at any time. Because it is a single component, the MCM is easier to integrate into the vehicle than a whole ECU network. This is the future of the powertrain,“ says Wolfgang Breuer, Executive Vice President Electronic Controls business unit at Vitesco Technologies
The technological foundation for this up-integration trend is the electronics know-how. This part of the corporate DNA is a legacy from the efficient and extremely reliable engine and transmission ECUs for vehicles with a combustion engine. This legacy of microelectronics expertise from many generations of engine and transmission ECUs is now the indispensable foundation for the oncoming challenges. One thing, however, is new: With the MCM, it is the software that rules what the hardware needs to offer.
According to Markus Hackelsperger, Head of Product Group Management Electronic Products, “As soon as the powertrain complexity is transferred to a single scalable hardware device, you can greatly simplify the E/E architecture in this domain.“
Through its architecture, the MCM opens up new possibilities. For instance, the Vitesco Technologies MCM contains a technology that allows integration of individual sub-functions – also over-the-air – very much like an app, thus establishing an individual function mix as per MCM. “Tested embedded apps can be installed individually for each vehicle with this technology. Also, individual apps can be updated at any time, for instance, when a charging standard changes,” according to Hackelsperger.
With this concept, Vitesco Technologies is heralding a new technical era, enabling powertrain control to be kept up-to-date over the car’s complete service life and to even increase its functional content. “It is a very demanding technology, for which we have harnessed our expertise in segregating functions on a temporal level and on a spatial level. This is a direct legacy from previous complex engine and transmission ECUs,” adds Gerd Winkler, Development Lead Electronic Architecture & Software Platforms.
The spatial separation of functions is already integrated in the most recent AUTOSAR release, spearheaded by Vitesco Technologies. “Yet, temporal separation is even more demanding and is a technology we’ve developed in-house.”