Hybrid vehicles will exert increasing influence on the "by-wire" movement, in a number of new ways. That is one of the conclusions reached by ABI Research Analyst Robert LaGuerra in the study, "X-by-Wire: A Strategic Analysis of In-Vehicle Multiplexing and Next-Generation Safety-Critical Control Systems." The report examines by-wire steering, braking, and electric parking brakes, and details the integration of these systems.
X-by-wire or by-wire (the replacement of mechanical functions in a vehicle by a combination of mechanicals, electronics, and software (mechatronics)) will gradually "trickle down" into lower-end car models. "Traditionally, advanced technologies first appear in luxury models, because they all add expense to the existing basic package of chassis, engine, and so on. But designers of hybrids have been able to start from scratch, and many of the systems they design are by-wire because of these vehicles' particular requirements," says LaGuerra.
Hybrids require by-wire systems, and are able to employ them because they produce a lot of electrical powerenough to run mechatronics systems that would be impossible in a conventional 12-volt vehicle, notes.
Such strategies go beyond hybrids, LaGuerra adds. For example, conventional vehicles fitted with Belt-Alternator-Starters incorporate hybrid strategies by shutting down the engine while the car is stationaryborrowing from full hybrid regenerative braking and steering systems that are designed to keep working when the engine is off.
"I believe you're going to see these things in lower-end vehicles," notes LaGuerra. "Korean manufacturers are planning for low-end hybrid vehicles in the next two to three years. Even the Honda Civics and Toyota Priuses are not high-end cars. Hybrid technologies won't be the only drivers of the X-by-wire movement, but they will take a prominent role."