EMC design in tomorrow’s semi- and fully autonomous vehicles

February 11, 2019 // By Tiberius Recean, Parker Chomerics
EMC design in tomorrow’s semi- and fully autonomous vehicles
The car originated as a device for conveying a driver and passengers from A to B at speed with a minimum of effort. For more than 100 years, this concept of the car was extraordinarily popular. Now it has become more complicated.

With the introduction first of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and other semi-autonomous driving technologies, and now with live testing of fully autonomous vehicles in full swing (see Figure 1), a different concept of the vehicle is emerging: in future, it seems, the car will be a media playback centre, telephone, office, and extension of the home’s living room which also happens to be able to convey passengers from A to B at speed.

This evolution is having a profound effect on the characteristics and on the sheer number of electronics systems in new vehicles. And this in turn will dramatically extend the demands on the EMI shielding devices, such as EMI gaskets and EMI housings, used to attenuate the radiated emissions that could affect circuits in the car. In future, EMI shielding materials will be required to perform over a wider range of frequencies, in more applications, while adding as little as possible to the weight of the vehicle.

Fig. 1: autonomous Waymo Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan undergoing testing
in Los Altos, California. (Picture credit: Dllu at Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons licence.)

It might not be viable simply to continue to use shielding materials and products from the past in these new conditions. The time to consider the options for achieving EMC in new car designs is as close as possible to the start of a new design project, before the electrical and mechanical features of the vehicle’s systems have been irreversibly decided: this gives the OEM’s chosen supplier of shielding products the opportunity to bring considerations of EMI and shielding devices into the design process, and enable optimisation of the size, cost and performance of EMI shielding in the final system.

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