The role of data transmission in modern e-vehicles

Interview with Christoph Zauner about the impact of autonomous driving on the amount of data to be transmitted in modern electric vehicles

Tech Talk is an interview series that introduces you to some inspiring characters inside and outside MD and the world of tech, innovation and beyond.

In this episode of Tech Talk, we sat down with Christoph Zauner, Manager Technical Product Management at MD ELEKTRONIK. We talk about his personal idea of the role of data transmission in modern e-vehicles, the impact of autonomous driving on the amount of data to be transmitted in modern electric vehicles and the impacts on the future on-board power system as well as what MD is doing to be prepared.

Christoph, tell me a little bit about yourself. What excites you most about your job?

Christoph: After working 24 years in the electronics development industry, I joined MD ELEKTRONIK in 2020 as Manager Technical Product Management. What excites me most about my job? Being at the forefront of new projects, the exciting and interesting contact with our customers worldwide, and the great intercultural experiences that comes from working in a global environment.

What role does data transmission play in modern electric vehicles?

Christoph: Data transmission in modern electric vehicles already plays a very important role and will become much more important within the next 5 to 10 years. Why is that? The number of sensors and actuators in the vehicle is constantly increasing due to the “autonomous driving” megatrend. As a result, a higher amount of data has to be transmitted. In order to be able to handle the large amounts of data in “real time”, the requirement for the speed at which the data must be transmitted is also increasing.

What impact will autonomous driving have on the amount of data to be transmitted in modern electric vehicles?

Christoph: In the course of the “autonomous” megatrend, the amount of data to be transmitted in modern electric vehicles is increasing enormously.

In order to operate a vehicle autonomously, i.e. without a human driver, virtually all sensory organs and human actions must be replaced by a multitude of sensors such as cameras, radar or LiDAR, as well as high-performance computing systems and complex algorithms.
The sensors permanently collect a huge amount of data which is then passed on to the computing units within a very short time, where it is processed and interpreted. An action is then carried out based on the result of this evaluation. This can be, for example, “steer the car into a curve” or “trigger braking”. All this must happen within fractions of a second.

What are the impacts on the future on-board power system?

Christoph: Of course, one can imagine that the enormous amounts of data are pushing the current on-board power systems to their limits. The complexity of the wiring as well as the resulting high weight and costs are the reason why OEMs are working on new topologies for the on-board power system of the future.
We are talking about the so-called zonal architecture which connects all high-performance computers in the vehicle with high-performance networks such as Multi-Gigabit Ethernet. The computers are located at strategically important places in the vehicle (e.g. at the corners of the vehicle). The sensors and actuators are connected to the computers via short stub cables. This significantly reduces the amount of cables in the vehicle, but at the same time requires the use of high-quality data cables that are capable of transmitting the high data rates of 25 Gbit/s and more quickly and reliably.

What is MD doing to be prepared?

Christoph: MD is already very well positioned thanks to its product portfolio and many years of experience in the automated assembly of high-quality data cables. Of course, the company is looking closely at the requirements of the future in order to continue to be the right partner for OEMs and Tier1s. This includes, among other things, the topic of optical data transmission.

Christoph, thank you very much for this very interesting interview!

MD enables the modern electric car with high-quality data cable assemblies

The amount of data that has to be transmitted in real time in a modern e-car is increasing dramatically. The on-board power system of the future with its zonal architecture reduces the complexity and weight of the cabling enormously, but at the same time demands the use of high-quality data cables that are capable of transmitting the data rates of 25 Gbit/s. Optical data transmission is therefore also becoming a growing trend. MD ELEKTRONIK is fully focusing its attention on the relevant future technologies and automated production in order to meet the coming requirements of the automotive industry.

Contact us now to learn more about the mobility of the future!

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About Christoph Zauner

Christoph Zauner is a Technical Product Manager at MD. His focus is on automotive PCB connectors and electronic components. His many years of professional experience in electronic engineering make him highly capable in this field. What excites him most about his job: “Being able to help shape new products from the very beginning is a special privilege. The close customer contact, the collaboration in an international team and the resulting intercultural experiences make the tasks particularly interesting.”