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Wired for Autonomy

  • Magazine Article
  • 20AVEP01_05
Published January 01, 2020 by SAE International in United States
  • English

Wiring harnesses are already heavy, complex and costly, so what happens when AV equipment is added? Two experts weigh in.

Engineers and product planners are already grappling with the complexity of autonomous vehicles (AVs), with the prospect of complexity increasing. Every second, AVs manage advanced-sensor fusion via high-bandwidth networks, while onboard computers run AI algorithms to process gigabits of data. Connecting it all is the wiring harness, which has become increasingly heavy, more expensive and more difficult to package within the vehicle.

Premium-segment cars and full-size trucks can contain 40 different harnesses comprised of 700 connectors and more than 3,000 wires. Stretched in a continuous line, these wires would span 2.5 mi (4 km) and weigh approximately 132 lb. (60 kg). In addition, there can be more than 70 specialty cables that include coax, high-speed data and USB runs.