The past decades have seen the slow demise of the role of mechanical engineers
in the automotive industry as software programmers displace them. Vehicles
have gone from being mechanical marvels to software-defined transportation
solutions. And, if you believe that the quantity of software and the electronics
that implement that code’s functionality has peaked, you’re going to be disappointed.
The reality is that the automotive industry is still largely at the beginning of
its journey to reshape how the electrical and electronic (E/E) architecture of
vehicles will be implemented.

Electronic control units (ECU) handling individual functions within the vehicle
have long been the approach to electrifying previously mechanical functions, such
as window lifters, and adding new functionality, such as rain sensors. As a result,
even a basic vehicle model contains around 70 ECUs, with premium models featuring
well over 100. However, as vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEM) look to
differentiate their products and regulators place pressure on OEMs to
add advanced safety features (ADAS), it is clear the old one-feature-per-box
approach is no longer tenable.