LAS VEGAS — Panasonic said its new cockpit domain controller is part of an industry trend toward more-powerful onboard computers that can single-handedly run multiple functions within a vehicle.
The single-brain component, called Spydr, will enable automakers to run multiple devices with different software through a single vehicle control unit. Panasonic introduced the product last week at CES.
"We've got one processor here that's running a big, main infotainment system, plus a digital instrument cluster and up to five other displays in the vehicle," Andrew Poliak, vice president for product planning and innovation for Panasonic Automotive Systems, said at a product demonstration at the technology show. "That's one chip — one computer."
A key benefit of the single-brain trend: Less vehicle wiring is needed. Until recently, each feature required its own computer and wiring to that computer, Poliak said.
Running multiple functions off a single computer means that automakers and their suppliers can reduce the amount of wire harnesses. Less wiring brings down vehicle weight and sidesteps the common problem of warranty claims caused by wire malfunctions.
Vehicle engineers are looking for new ways to wire cars as they install a growing list of electronics.
A solution such as the open-architecture Spydr would enable an automaker to tie together the functions of an infotainment center stack display, digital instrument cluster and head-up display.