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This article is about controls for motor vehicles. For other uses, see control unit (disambiguation).
An ECU from a Geo Storm.

In automotive electronics, electronic control unit (ECU) is a generic term for any embedded system that controls one or more of the electrical system or subsystems in a motor vehicle.

Types of ECU include Electronic/engine Control Module (ECM), Powertrain Control Module (PCM), Transmission Control Module (TCM), Brake Control Module (BCM or EBCM), Central Control Module (CCM), Central Timing Module (CTM), General Electronic Module (GEM), Body Control Module (BCM), Suspension Control Module (SCM), control unit, or control module. Taken together, these systems are sometimes referred to as the car's computer. (Technically there is no single computer but multiple ones.) Sometimes one assembly incorporates several of the individual control modules (PCM is often both engine and transmission)[1]

Some modern motor vehicles have up to 80 ECUs. Embedded software in ECUs continue to increase in line count, complexity, and sophistication.[2] Managing the increasing complexity and number of ECUs in a vehicle has become a key challenge for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

Key elements of an ECU[edit]

  • Core
  • Memory
  • Inputs
    • Supply Voltage
    • Digital inputs
    • Analog inputs
  • Outputs
    • Relay drivers
    • H bridge drivers
    • Injector drivers
    • Logic outputs
  • Communication links
    • Housing

Design and development[edit]

The development of an ECU involves both hardware and software required to perform the functions expected from that particular module. Automotive ECU's are being developed following the V-model.[1] Recently the trend is to dedicate a significant amount of time and effort to develop safe modules by following standards like ISO 26262.[3] It is rare that a module is developed fully from scratch. The design is generally iterative and improvements are made to both the hardware and software. The development of most ECU's are carried out by Tier 1 suppliers based on specifications provided by the OEM.

Testing and validation[edit]

As part of the development cycle, manufacturers perform detailed FMEAs and other failure analyses to catch failure modes that can lead to unsafe conditions or driver annoyance. Extensive testing and validation activities are carried out as part of the Production part approval process to gain confidence of the hardware and software. On-board diagnostics or OBD help provide specific data related to which system or component failed or caused a failure during run time and help perform repairs.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b National Instruments White Paper on Electronic Control Units
  2. ^ Ebert, Christof; Jones, Capers (2009-04-01). "Embedded Software: Facts, Figures, and Future". IEEE Computer Society Press. Retrieved 2010-09-15. 
  3. ^ Case, Lenny (October 2011). "Fast-tracking ECU development". Automotive Industries. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_control_unit — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

2008 news items

 
AftermarketNews.com (AMN)
Mon, 31 Aug 2015 09:30:00 -0700

ZF - Electric Control Unit ZF TRW has won two business awards with North American and European vehicle manufacturers for its second generation Safety Domain ECU (SDE 2). The central controller will launch in Europe and the U.S. starting in 2018.
 
MarketWatch
Thu, 03 Sep 2015 14:45:00 -0700

Deployment for OTA updates in the core electronic control unit (ECU) segment is rare and only Tesla has publicly said it is updating core auto ECUs. Tesla has designed its system and ECU architecture with experienced staff from the PC and consumer ...

Agriculture.com

Agriculture.com
Thu, 03 Sep 2015 07:48:45 -0700

The electronic control unit (ECU) converts the measurement into a weight for the crop harvested. When the crop travels up to the bubble-up auger, a second set of sensors measures crop moisture level and incorporates that into the data along with the ...
 
Tire Business
Thu, 03 Sep 2015 08:00:00 -0700

According to Snap-on, the new tool allows technicians to update software and firmware in a vehicle's electronic control unit with software directly from the OEMs, fixing software-controlled drivability and emission issues. The device also is capable of ...

AutoExpress

AutoExpress
Thu, 03 Sep 2015 04:15:00 -0700

... posts an official EU pure-electric range figure of 25 miles from a fully charged lithium-ion battery. The five-door, five-seater tips in at 1660kg – a full 150kg more than the 225i xDrive thanks to its extra battery, gearbox, electronic control ...
 
PR Newswire (press release)
Tue, 25 Aug 2015 12:30:00 -0700

The Global market is further analyzed by the following Product Segments: Embedded Telematics Electronic Control Unit (ECU), Connectivity Electronic Control Unit (ECU), Head Unit Systems, and Other Infotainment Systems. The report provides separate ...
 
AUTO Connected Car News
Sun, 30 Aug 2015 18:32:55 -0700

The central controller will launch in Europe and the US starting in 2018. ZF TRW's Safety Domain Electronic Control Unit acts as a central integration hub – processing millions of bytes of data from environmental sensors of the vehicle's state and ...

Autoblog (blog)

Autoblog (blog)
Fri, 28 Aug 2015 10:14:31 -0700

The electronic control unit built into the steering wheel converts the identified state into a digital signal and sends this to the vehicle via the LIN (Local Interconnect Network). Depending on the situation, this alerts the driver or activates the ...
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