Flexibility is the Key to the Future of Connected Mobility

Automakers continue to face new challenges as they strive to build next-generation, intelligent vehicles and, as a result, they’re relentless in their demand for new solutions and technologies while they work toward a truly autonomous vehicle. Right now, we’re seeing innovations occur all across the automotive technology landscape – from the rise of new cellular technologies and developments in artificial intelligence to the deployment of smart mobility solutions and the increasing integration of consumer devices.

But there’s one thing they all need to achieve in order to be successful, no matter their specific challenge or niche.


The industry will tackle this issue when many of its experts – including Molex’s team of engineers – gather at TU-Automotive 2018 this week in Detroit. Billed as the world’s largest meeting place for the automotive technology and mobility communities, TU-Automotive is billed as where the “leaders of the digital automotive revolution come to learn, network and create the new ecosystem which will enable the future of smart mobility.” While there are a number of areas of specialty, flexibility in those areas will be top of mind.

Network architecture
Sensor advancements that support 360-degree imaging around the vehicle are changing daily and with that, comes the challenge of moving substantial amounts of data – both compressed and not. That then begs the question of what network architecture design is most beneficial – keeping architectures distributed or centralizing them? There’s no clear answer and both have tremendous advantages, creating an elastic struggle that, at times, presents a bit of push and pull.

Time synchronization
Time synchronization among all sensors with low system latency is a challenge that will inevitably redefine the entire vehicle wiring approach. New networking solutions will likely evolve that can aggregate and consolidate traffic flow for mission critical data.

Dynamic design
Agility is another key challenge the industry is working to solve.  Single point-to-point solutions are closed and costly. They are inflexible in many ways with new silicon and processing power becoming available regularly. New silicon or added functionality often times require a complete redesign in order to accommodate thermal challenges or new input cable and connector solutions – and those are just a couple of challenges that must be considered and drive change.

New software solutions are yet another subject area the industry is working to address as it relates to flexibility. Software solutions change daily and when you consider the number of systems already deployed, how practical is it to recall vehicles for improvements and potentially safety-related updates? A need for standardized SOTA/FOTA processes with security at its core is critical for widespread deployment and flexibility.

The need for flexibility – in these areas as well as others – is key to the successful development of an autonomous vehicle and to its ubiquitous existence. It’s flexibility in all aspects of system architecture that is the clear enabler for true autonomy.