The pursuit of improved fuel economy for ground vehicles has accelerated in recent years due to the increased price of gasoline and growing concerns about the environmental impact of fossil fuels. Stringent carbon dioxide (CO2) regulations have set new rules for automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), making both products and processes much more complex. In addition to decreasing fuel consumption, OEMs are under pressure from the market to maintain vehicle performance, quality, safety and a high level of driving satisfaction. Balancing all these attributes means that OEMs must spend a huge amount of money to make sure that they get to market on time while maintaining profit margins and customer satisfaction.
Optimizing vehicles involves strategic choices when it comes to selecting systems and components as each of them has an impact on global vehicle performance and efficiency. In this context, the optimization of transmission systems, especially controls, plays a significant role in determining global energy savings. Today, controls today make up the majority of the new content in vehicles, and have become very complex due to the increasing number of vehicle variants to design. Moreover, controls are the last link in the development chain, making delays very visible and increasing the pressure to become more efficient.
The pressure to achieve high quality also means that manufacturers need to make hardware architecture decisions early in the program to effect maximum safety and reliability, and provide vehicle performance that will not degrade over time.