It’s Just the Beginning for Electrical Architecture

You wonder how your car works – sure, fuel goes from the tank to the engine, and that’s really all the driver needs to know to get from point A to point B.

Yet, the vehicles on the road today are reactive to their environment, and that can’t be due to the engine alone.  For instance, when rain begins to fall, the windshield wipers may turn on automatically. That little marvel of engineering has nothing to do with a full tank of gas. It came from a few wires; a little bit of technological know-how, and communication – the brain talked to the nerves and the machine reacted.


Since those automatic windshield wipers were introduced in the mid-90s, we have added quite a few new components and features to the vehicle. Advanced safety systems – features like automatic braking, adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assistance – all require data to move around the car.

With all due respect to the software that enables these features, it is the electrical architecture that moves the power and data around the vehicle. Vehicles would simply not function without an electrical distribution system. High-speed data transmission systems send the information from the vehicle’s eyes and ears (sensors) to the brain (computing platforms).

While vehicles are learning to be responsive to what’s happening on the road, they are also becoming more responsive to their driver and passengers. For example, you get into the vehicle and set your phone down and it starts to charge while it syncs up to Bluetooth.

To enable all of these new features, the electrical system needs to be able to transfer 15,000 pieces of data. If you’re detecting an architecture overload, you’re right. It’s increasingly complex, and, we have run out of physical space to package it.

This is why Aptiv is revolutionizing electrical architecture as we know it. Aptiv has been a world-leader in this area for years – one out of every four cars worldwide has an Aptiv electrical system and components – and this is only the beginning of our work within the vehicle’s nervous system.

We may use wire as a medium to distribute data, but we may also use WiFi, fiber optics, coax cables, wireless, Bluetooth, automotive Ethernet, HDBaseT – you name it. Our true value-add is in our holistic approach to electrical architecture, designing the vehicle so that it can be reactive to its environment. We do it better than anyone else.