EE architecture in the new truck — MAN Truck & Bus
Like a brain, a central computer in the new MAN truck processes all the information and controls processes within the vehicle. This opens up endless possibilities, says EE architect Stefan Teuchert. The new MAN truck generation can be equipped with new functions that dock into the existing system over its useful life.
THE EE EXPERT
IT and electronics specialist Stefan Teuchert is responsible for the electrics and electronics as well as function and software development for MAN vehicles. The EE architecture for the new MAN truck, on which he has been working for many years, is his professional pride and joy.
Stefan Teuchert is head of electrics and electronic systems at MAN and he was fully aware 15 years ago that the new architecture would have to be clear, simple, future-proof and open. It is referred to as the electric and electronic architecture (EE) in the new vehicles. Over a decade has been spent researching and developing this architecture. The most important premises included keeping the system as simple as possible to provide stability and reduce the likelihood of failures. But at the same time making it extremely flexible, so that a wide range of applications can be integrated – even those that do not yet exist. "We were forced to think radically to be able to realise this," explains Teuchert. Vehicles with decentralised EE architectures have been usual until now. Many functions – from cruise control to turn assist – have their own hardware. "It’s like having a laptop that only runs Word. You would need to buy a new laptop if you want to use Excel. A paradox, but not so unusual in the automotive industry," says Teuchert. Communication between the installed hardware is also sometimes difficult and retrofitting has its limits – problems Teuchert and his team wanted to solve.
DRIVER ASSISTANCE SYSTEMS
Truck drivers have to be alert and respond to unforeseen situations at lightning speed. Assistance systems support them and ensure greater safety.
A highway pilot could replace the driver for specific driving tasks in the future. A technology with loads of potential.
DIGITAL FLEET MANAGEMENT
Vehicles are becoming rolling computers. This facilitates their integration into digital logistics.
WE HAVE BEEN FORCED TO THINK RADICALLY.
The result is a completely new EE architecture. Its core is a central computer inside the vehicle, a kind of brain through which all information is fed and which controls all required processes. The great thing about it: new functions can be loaded via internet interfaces, similar to using a smartphone, without any need to take the vehicle to a workshop. These could include functions and apps that support fuel-efficient driving or help meet regulatory requirements. It is also straightforward to integrate third-party software. This enables even more functionality and added value for the user. This openness and flexibility make the new MAN truck a future-proof and sustainable vehicle. Its real strength will be felt in the coming years, especially when it virtually updates itself with new functions in a quick and easy manner. The new digital truck is also prepared for updates to the central computer.
ONE COMPUTER, THOUSANDS OF POSSIBILITIES
he advantages of the new electric-electronic interior are already felt today. The various assistance systems can cooperate much better thanks to the central structure. This significantly increases the vehicle’s performance. One example: the truck’s map data is provided centrally and makes existing functions like powertrain management (driving, gear changes), cooling or EfficientCruise even more proactive. This saves fuel and enables the systems to react in a more human-like and intuitive manner. Perfectly coordinated interaction of various sensors is also one of the most important principles for automated driving. All new trucks are already equipped with a large number of assistance systems. New features include turn assist, which checks the blind spot to ensure safety when turning and changing lanes. Despite the numerous new possibilities, the EE architecture has been tidied up and reduced to the bare minimum, "because the less there is, the less there is to go wrong," says Teuchert. A high level of standardisation and software quality forms the basis for current and future applications. Teuchert and his team have thus succeeded in creating a small revolution – a vehicle that is ahead of its time and which will certainly give new impetus to the development of automated driving.