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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.
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1950 news items

EE Times

EE Times
Mon, 06 Jul 2015 21:18:45 -0700

As a result there is no concept of the embedded hardware to be used in the final electronic control unit (ECU) product. Processor-in-the-loop (PIL): processor-in-the-loop focuses on the use of an evaluation board connected to a host PC executing a ...

The Car Guide

The Market Business
Mon, 06 Jul 2015 20:45:00 -0700

... which it qualifies as “fuel for 3 years or $15,000 maximum, whichever comes first” and an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on components including the fuel cell stack and power control unit, hydrogen tanks, hybrid battery pack and ECU (electronic ...

The Manila Times

The Manila Times
Mon, 06 Jul 2015 00:41:40 -0700

Also, the conventional column makes space for a new Sport mode switch for the transmission's electronic control unit for a more engaging drive. We'll test that later. The carryover 2.5-liter SkyActiv-G engine offers plenty of go with 188 horsepower and ...
 
LawyersandSettlements.com (blog)
Sat, 04 Jul 2015 15:07:30 -0700

For those who haven't previously complained, the retuned electronic control unit will be available at a 50 percent discount. Class members who paid out-of-pocket to have the returned electronic control unit installed may be reimbursed up to $695 ...

ThomasNet News (press release) (blog)

ThomasNet News (press release) (blog)
Mon, 06 Jul 2015 05:56:15 -0700

"This same sensor set can be used with multiple radars and cameras and combined with ZF TRW's advanced safety domain electronic control unit to enable partially automated vehicle functions that will eventually evolve into the highly automated vehicle ...

The Guardian

The Guardian
Sat, 27 Jun 2015 23:00:24 -0700

Eventually they discovered that the electronic control unit was faulty. It was replaced at a cost of more than €1,200. We returned to France, collected our vehicle and drove back to the UK with no further problems. However, we are very unhappy at ...

Computerworld

Computerworld
Wed, 10 Jun 2015 09:14:16 -0700

The $22.5 billion plane has four engines and each engine is run by a separate computer, called an Electronic Control Unit (ECU). The current theory being investigated involves the accidental deletion of computer files known as “torque calibration ...

PR Newswire (press release)

PR Newswire (press release)
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 07:26:15 -0700

ZF TRW offers a range of EPB solutions including standard EPB, integrated EPB which removes the requirement for a separate Electronic Control Unit (ECU) due to its integration with the Electronic Stability Control system, and EPB for front axles which ...
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