The pressure to succeed
How'd they do?
"This year, we haven't had a single ECU fail on the track," Nelson
said. "Forty cars run in NASCAR every week. That's 600,000
competition miles" or about 24 times around the Earth.
"For us to understand that almost anything on a car will break and
you put a brand new piece of technology in a car and not have it
break once is amazing," Nelson added.
But carbueretors worked well for 40 years. It it ain't broke, why
fix it, right?
Out with the old...
"The short answer is all race series are protective of the
spectacle," said Dr. Peter van Manen, managing director at McLaren
Electronic Systems. "They don't want to upset the racing series.
Cars were running well with carburetors, but it was inevitable that
they would move to fuel injection. In terms of performance you get
better drivability and fuel economy."
In addition, this shift was an opportunity to adopt and showcase
what most car buyers already have in their personal cars. That's an
interesting reversal of the historic technology-adoption path, which
often starts with race cars (think rear-view mirrors at the early
Indianapolis 500 races) and trickles down into mainstream cars.
Racing, of course, has always been part lab, part consumer showroom
for the automotive manufacturers.
But in this case, technology in widespread commercial use finally
found its way into NASCAR. So if that's the case, is ethernet next?
No, according to van Manen.
"We've avoided ethernet because the signal levels are low compared
to CAN," he said. "The level of high-energy electrical noise around
a car is very high. On that one, we're waiting on the automotive
guys for ethernet that can run in a noisy environment. At the
moment we'd be cautious about ethernet on the car."
Unfortunately for McLaren, Freescale and other components suppliers,
there's no time to rest on laurels after a successful new ECU
In less than two years, Formula 1, which uses fuel injection, is
moving to a new engine platform.
"In 2014, Formula 1 moves to a different powerful train, direct
injection turbo charged engine with parallel hybrid with exhaust gas
energy recovery and restrictions on fuel flow," van Manen said.
"There will be a lot more attention on torque and energy and energy
consumption. That's the biggest challenge. That's stepping in a lot
of different elements."
Back to work.
Freescale auto push ranges from radar to MCU
new Freescale dev kits for automotive motor control
apps accelerated by triple-play graphics cores