The readers of Automotive DesignLine have voted with their mouse clicks. Here's a year-end countdown of the top automotive electronics stories of 2006, based on their number of page views.
Coming in at No. 8 is "Tech Tutorial: Driver Assistance Systems, an introduction to Adaptive Cruise Control: Part 1," (which contains links to the second installment). This introduction to Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) discusses "surround sensing" and a frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) radar as the basis of an ACC system, as opposed to infrared (IR) sensors which are weather inhibited.
No. 7 covers a hot topic these days, "FlexRay speeds automotive safety applications." While not a simple protocol, its speed, determinism, and fault tolerance enable by-wire, safety, and other features. Here is a rundown on FlexRay's design, function, and applications.
No. 6 is "Capacitive touch switches boost automotive interface options." With no mechanical parts, as well as conformance to contoured surfaces, cap sense switches provide reliability and lower costs for automotive infotainment, control, and security applications.
The No. 5 most popular article concerns electrical power budgets, "Ultracapacitors fill automotive power gaps." The automotive industry is creating new demands for electrical power within vehiclesboth as part of the power train in hybrid and electric vehicles, and to power the increasing numbers of electronic components in cars. Ultracapacitors for advanced energy storage can help engineers meet these challenges.
No. 4 sparked a great deal of interest on other Websites and blogs, "Cosmic rays damage automotive electronics." While the concept of bombardment of neutrons from space sounds like something straight out of Star Trek, neutron-induced errors are a dangerous reality for many types of automotive electronic body and safety-related equipment.
No. 3 touches on energy-efficient braking, "Wedge brake design boosts by-wire stopping performance." Intelligently controlled electronic brake converts vehicle kinetic energy directly into braking energy; is faster than hydraulic brakes; requires only 10% the energy to operate; and eliminating hydraulic lines and controllers lowers system weight.