Positioned To Win

Posted By
Glen De Vos
Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer, Aptiv

Why Aptiv sees opportunity where others see obstacles.

In my last post, I talked about the safe, green, and connected megatrends shaping our industry, and the mega-challenges they pose for automakers. And while it can be scary for some, at Aptiv we are optimistic. We are perfectly positioned to address each of these trends, thanks to our unique ability to solve for challenges in both the brain and the nervous system of today’s (and tomorrow’s) vehicles.

Expanding architecture requirements: Obstacle or opportunity? 
Our positioning is not an accident. There is a reason we have invested in our global engineering force, in our agile methods and tools, and in our acquisitions and partnerships. Our positioning is purposeful.

Content complexity grows every day. Connector counts in cars have grown from 250 to 350 since 1995, but look at the exponential changes in signal distribution and power consumption. In 1996, the average signal distribution in a vehicle was a mere 25 megabits per second, and soon we’ll be measuring in gigabits per second - a 100x increase! And power consumption? We started at 700w. Today the average vehicle is gobbling up at 40KW of power - over a 50x increase and counting.

With these numbers come specific challenges, namely increased component miniaturization and wire density and increased automation needs for AV content specifications to name a few.  

Our innovative connection systems designs and process automation are addressing the demand for miniaturization while improving the quality required for advanced autonomous vehicle features. And our advanced architectures enable the enterprise-grade automation of manufacturing processes that helps our customers make the most of the workforce they have at their vehicle assembly plants. 

These innovations, combined with our ongoing value engineering programs, enable Aptiv to proactively manage this increased architectural complexity while helping our customers make the leap to the Smart Vehicle Architecture™ (SVA) of the future. 

The rise of new compute solutions.
Of course, it’s not just the vehicle architecture that is growing more complex. The rapid growth in software-enabled functionality is driving an immediate need for significantly more powerful compute.  Today’s vehicles are computers on wheels, running over 10x the amount of software code as the average smartphone… and they have to be a lot more reliable too.

Things were a lot easier three decades ago, when the industry’s sole compute focus was on relatively simple engine controllers. Today, that focus has expanded to all vehicle systems — connectivity, body and security, infotainment and user experience, and, of course,  ADAS — with an emphasis on higher levels of safety automation.

With this increase in system complexity comes an increase in the challenges it poses for automakers throughout the vehicle lifecycle.

  • During development, for example, the highly fragmented hardware and monolithic approach to software creates a slew of new interdependencies.
  • During production, it’s increasingly difficult to manufacture vehicles due to packaging and assembly complexity.
  • And, finally, in post-production, it’s difficult to enhance functionality once the vehicle is in the consumer’s hands. As car owners and carmakers, we’ve all experienced the inconvenience of bringing a car back to the dealer for an upgrade. No one enjoys it and it breeds the kind of dissatisfaction that can damage customer loyalty.

Aptiv’s leadership role in creating  advanced vehicle architectures to address all these lifecycle challenges positions us to take advantage of the up-integration opportunities in all these domains, creating new opportunities for Aptiv and our customers. 

Think about it: Each new generation in vehicle architecture has increased the demand for content that Aptiv’s breadth of expertise and product offerings enables. From first generation wiring and interconnects all the way to the advanced safety automation and electrification breakthroughs of today’s cutting edge vehicles, Aptiv is uniquely positioned as a natural integrator, efficiently offering the most advanced solutions to whatever challenges the next generation of vehicles poses to our customers.

Bring it on.
Combining our powerful central compute platforms with the most advanced data and power distribution networks in the industry, we have assembled an unprecedented portfolio of product offerings that support both the brain and the nervous system of the vehicle.

It’s a great position to be in as we enter the new world of feature rich, highly automated vehicles.  Powered by our advanced engineering capabilities, we’re ready to leverage the investments we are making across our full vehicle solution stack to better deliver on our customers’ toughest challenges.