April 16th, 2018
Advances in Automotive Instrumentation
Historically, automotive instrumentation had been limited primarily to functional driver gages. For the most part, this consisted of things like the fuel gauge, battery gauge, oil pressure gauge, speedometer, and coolant gauge. Some simple gauges were later replaced with warning lights to create a cleaner dashboard appearance. Eventually, instrumentation received its most dramatic change by becoming an electronic information center of the vehicle.
Today’s automotive instrumentation is dramatically different from the early days. Vehicles are now manufactured to provide information and diagnostics, such as low tire pressure, check engine, door ajar, fuel pump pressure, outside ambient temperature, brake fluid level, and more. The biggest changes to instrumentation are solid-state sensors, microprocessors, and solid-state display devices. These sensors are designed to convert a non-electrical signal to an equivalent current or voltage.
In modern vehicles, measurements from various switches and sensors are delivered to a digital computer. Although instrumentation ensures a safer and more comfortable ride, one of the primary purposes is to diagnose a problem before it gets out of hand. As an example, the control system for the powertrain runs continual diagnostics. If it recognizes an issue, a fault code that indicates the type and location of the issue is set.
Today, the styling and design of the driver cockpit and instrumentation has also become a key differentiator between vehicles. Car companies utilize 3d prototyping, cnc prototyping, and other engineering services to develop working functional cosmetic mockups of these instrument cockpits in order to verify that it meets the designers and the customer needs prior to going to production.
The automotive industry depends on state-of-the-art vehicles manufactured using high-quality parts and components. As the instrumentation systems continue to grow more and more complex, manufacturing requirements continue to grow as well. Whether for racecars, show cars, work trucks, or vehicles that people drive on a daily basis, the parts and components must meet exact specifications. One small defect could have a huge impact on the overall product.
In addition to quality materials, you want an engineering team that has experience and expertise in designing parts and components for automotive instrumentation. Production is also critical, whether this involves plastics or metals. We are seeing that precision automotive aluminum castings are now increasingly being used in advanced instrumentation in addition to precisely molded plastic parts and electronics.
At Globaltech Ventures, we are proud to support global leaders in automotive instrumentation in the efforts to continue to advance their technology. Whether it is in greater visual aesthetics, user ergonomics and human factors, or advanced sensing and autonomous or semi-autonomous technologies. For superior parts, components, and engineering services, you can always rely on GTV. If you need assistance with development or prototype products, we look forward to speaking with you.