Week 35: Automotive At DAC

A typical new car is equipped with more than 50 computers, designed to operate under extreme conditions for extended periods of time.


With my adopted hometown preparing for the Portland Auto Show, I thought it an opportune time to revisit automotive at DAC. Scanning the news releases, it seems that here in Portland the focus will be on things like horsepower, handling and, of course, design — the usual fare for an auto show. In contrast at DAC, we’ll be talking about the rapid increase in content and complexity that has made the development of automotive electronics and software the largest single challenge for the automotive industry. Well, I think there are actually two large challenges but I don’t want to jump ahead of myself.

Last year we launched our new automotive track and I introduced our two program co-chairs, Tony Cooprider and Samarjit Chakraborty, in my week 21 post. This year automotive content will run in a single track for three days. This is a change (and, we hope, an improvement) over last year’s format: two parallel tracks for two days, which unfortunately forced attendees to choose between compelling presentations. We will finalize the last pieces of the 2015 program during the Technical Program Committee meeting later this week in Houston. Tony and Samarjit did a great job and you motorheads out there are in for a treat.

While it is too early to give more details about DAC’s three-day schedule of presentations on automotive electronics and embedded systems and software, I can announce our Tuesday keynote: Jeffrey Owens, chief technology officer for Delphi Automotive, one of the world’s most important auto suppliers.

Jeffrey Owens is responsible for Delphi’s global engineering organization, which includes more than 19,000 technologists in 15 major technical centers. He leads the company’s innovation strategies while driving advanced technologies supporting the global megatrends of safe, green and connected. So he certainly is the right leader to talk to our audience of DAC about, “The Design of Innovations That Drives Tomorrow.” At CES members of the press were able to take a ride in an Audi 2014 SQ45 SUV equipped with Delpi Drive, Delphi’s Automated Driving Platform. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get Audi to showcase the car at DAC? Well, we are trying.

Delphi's Jeffrey Owens

Delphi’s Jeffrey Owens

I’m super excited that Jeffrey will be one of our general session highlights at DAC. Here’s his abstract to whet your appetite:

When people think of high-tech devices, they rarely think of their cars, trucks or vans. Similar to the computational power of the human brain, today’s vehicles possess more processing power than anything most consumers own or will purchase. A typical car is equipped with more than 50 computers designed to operate at automotive grade capabilities for an extended period of time.

Vehicle manufacturers and automotive suppliers around the world are responding to a myriad of consumer preferences and regulatory initiatives — including enhanced safety features, increased fuel economy, reduced emissions and connectivity.

Vehicles of the future will require increased amounts of embedded software and electrical/electronic systems. Addressing this dynamic will require significant design automation aids to handle extreme complexity. Electronics and design automation will play a critical role in shaping the future of automotive by providing design technology that helps save lives, protect the environment and provide a satisfying in-car experience for drivers and passengers alike.

Buckle up. The pace is picking up on the road to DAC. Oh, and send me a note if you can guess the second big challenge in auto electronics/software. It’s one I’ll be blogging about in the weeks ahead.

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