The automobile industry is entering a period of significant change. As vehicles move toward full autonomy, the automotive industry is implementing technology in driver assistance, connectivity, and safety features to make it all possible. At Teardown.com, where we tear down electronic systems and reveal their inner workings, our research clearly confirms these shifts.
What started as the simple seat belt and collapsible steering columns has developed into a comprehensive AutomotiveWorld.com list of 79 key safety, security, and advanced technology features included on 2015 Chrysler Group vehicles. All this tech content has attracted the attention of some of the biggest names in the semiconductor industry. Companies such as Qualcomm, Broadcom, and Intel are looking to gain an early lead in the race to capture the automotive market.
Governments are also taking an increased interest in this space. Safety has been a concern at least since the early 1960s. The precedent was set when seat belts were originally required in all new vehicles as a result of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 209. Since then research has shown that, when used, lap/shoulder seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45%.
Fast forward to 2014. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are 210 fatalities and 15,000 back-over injuries per year. Children under 5 years and adults over 70 years of age are the victims in a whopping 57% of the fatalities. Recently, in an effort to reduce injury and death from these types of accidents, the NHTSA issued a mandate requiring rear visibility equipment on all vehicles manufactured on or after May 1, 2018, and weighing less than 10,000 pounds. Considering an annual production of 60+ million passenger cars, the NHTSA mandate will have an immediate impact on the electronics industry, creating a boon for developers and manufacturers of camera and related integrated circuit technologies.
With that in mind, the analyst team at Teardown.com is dissecting the Rear View Camera module found in the current BMW 3 Series. To understand the technology and design choices inside, we procured this $400 device and proceeded with the teardown.