IHS said three architectures
are currently possible for ESC systems in cars. The first is on a
printed circuit board as a separate ESC engine control unit (ECU). The
second is attached to the brake modulator to save cabling. The third
type architecture is collocated in the airbag ECU.
Of the three
usable locations, the current trend favors placing ESC systems in the
airbag ECU to achieve a smaller footprint and greater efficiency, given
that there is a space constraint for the ECU in this position near the
cup holder in a vehicle, which favors an architecture of reduction IHS
As much as a fivefold reduction in space could be achieved
for the sensors in a combo-sensor ESC system made by a manufacturer
like Continental, compared to the same accomplished via separate
sensors, IHS said.
A non-combo solution also exists in the form
of the sensors separately mounted on the printed circuit board, IHS
said. But deploying the sensors in a combo form factor saves not only on
packaging cost but also on expensive real estate for the semiconductors
being used, since the two sensors in the combo package share the same
application-specific integrated circuit, according to the firm.
paramount issue for ESC systems is cost. Cost is especially important
because ESC formerly was considered an optional feature—but since being
mandated by governments—it now has attained the same required status as
the seat belt, IHS said.
As a result, the entire supply chain
and price structure for automotive combo sensors has been experiencing
huge pressure, exerted from car makers down the chain. Tier 1 companies
then pass on this pressure to their suppliers, accounting for the
accelerated move to provide efficient combo sensor solutions for
inertial sensors in the system, IHS said.
Because of such
pressure, some top-tier companies have indicated that only legacy
businesses will use older arrangements featuring separate sensors—not a
combo solution—on a printed circuit board in the future IHS said. All
new car models will use combo sensors, IHS said.