Mazda Motor Corporation is streamlining automotive design on the system level through Mentor’s “Capital,” an electrical design software suite designed to simplify the engineering of electrical systems for cars, aircraft, and other sophisticated machines. The Hiroshima-based automaker is using software from Mentor – Siemens AG business – to optimize its highly complex next-generation electrical and electronic systems and how they integrate into the vehicle through automated model-based generative design.
Developing safe and efficient electrical designs is a critical component of holistic vehicle design as the automotive industry moves towards large scale system developments such as electrified powertrains and autonomous driving. These designs are often based on entirely new architectures and have become so complex that advanced software tools are needed to enable development efforts.
Capital focuses on developing tools to deliver real time feedback against target metrics such as cost, weight, and network bandwidth consumption. This allows engineers to explore alternative design approaches, which is extremely important for large scale system developments represented by electric and autonomous vehicles. Capital software also provides Mazda with extensive simulation and verification functionalities which can reduce error and cost when integrating systems across multiple vehicle platforms.
At Mazda, from system design, harness design and verification down to manufacturing and service documentation, outputs of each process have been generated in its natural language, requiring designers to translate between processes and fill in the missing pieces.
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“In order to remove ambiguity while maintaining the diversity of expressions that are characteristics of these natural languages, we applied formal methods to eliminate the loss in information transfer and set a goal to build a development environment that is consistent and connected all the way through the manufacturing phase,” says Kazuichi Fujisaka, technical leader at Mazda.
“Furthermore, we also aim to shift to a development methodology that allows us to optimize the vehicle as a whole, with all possible variations being considered in the early development stage,” adds Fujisaka. “To make this happen, we needed a development environment to visualize the entire vehicle circuitry and standardize our language, tools, and processes without compromise, creating standard models across the company. Mentor’s Capital technologies provide this environment and make Mazda’s electric development much more efficient.”
“One who keeps challenging what seems impossible leads innovation – a fact Mazda clearly understands, as evidenced by its long history of innovation,” says Martin O’Brien, senior vice president of Integrated Electrical Systems at Siemens Digital Industries Software. “As a long-standing Capital customer, Mazda has proven to be a fast adopter of new capabilities, such as platform-level architecture optimization spanning the electrical, electronic, networking, and embedded software disciplines. As a growing number of Japanese automotive OEMs adopt Capital, Mazda has established its reputation as a forward-thinking early adopter, with a long track record of leveraging our sophisticated technologies from their ‘customer first’ point of view.”
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William Kucinski is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.
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