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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), powergain 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.[4] 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. 
  4. ^ "Failure and Damanage Analysis". Software and ECU. SGS. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_control_unit — Please support Wikipedia.
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eWeek

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Sat, 20 Dec 2014 08:30:00 -0800

Security researchers have already shown how hackers can exploit a connected vehicle's electronic control unit and take remote control of functions like steering, braking and acceleration. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration highlighted ...

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Sat, 20 Dec 2014 06:04:40 -0800

The engineering department at Mansory have developed a range of upgrades including new software for the central electronic control unit, a set of larger turbochargers, and a brand new exhaust system designed for minimal back pressure. Together, the ...
 
Business Wire (press release)
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 04:56:15 -0800

... management, and maintenance of connected vehicles. With a complete turnkey OTA solution, OEMs, Dealers, Tier 1 suppliers, and consumers can efficiently maintain and update the software and firmware within any vehicle Electronic Control Unit (ECU).
 
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Wed, 17 Dec 2014 05:52:30 -0800

The Blutip AUCs provide engine remapping that reduces fuel consumption while at the same time maintaining the power output of the engine and other functionality of the original equipment provider's electronic control unit. The improvement in Anglo ...

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Wed, 17 Dec 2014 07:22:30 -0800

The idea would be similar to how McLaren currently supply every team with the ECU (Electronic Control Unit) but for a team like Williams, who also have their own hybrid power company, suggesting a standard hybrid unit for all cars could be a difficult ...
 
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Thu, 11 Dec 2014 22:08:10 -0800

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Wed, 03 Dec 2014 14:52:07 -0800

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