An automotive test lab in Silicon Valley lets RF engineers test the wireless connectivity of automotive components. In a video interview, Cetecom’s Amber Neves shows the test setup.
The connected car. We hear about it constantly.
Not only are cars connecting to phones and other consumer devices, they’re also connecting directly to cellular networks. That’s just what drivers and passengers see. Then there’s “under the hood” where subsystems or “components,” as automotive engineers call them, may communicate wirelessly. The goal is to reduce expensive cabling that add weight to the vehicle, but adding wireless also brings the need to test these components.
RF engineers at tier-1 companies are designing wireless communications into components such as telemetry control units (TCUs) and engine control units (ECU). If you’re one of those engineers, you may not have in-house facilities to run functional tests on boards where you need to simulate the surrounding environment. That’s where the Automotive Experience Lab at Cetecom’s Silicon Valley facility can help. RF engineers can bring their boards to the lab, which is equipped with an Anritsu MT8000A radio test set that measures RF performance. The test bed also contains a dSPACE server and hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) software that simulates the automotive environment.
In the video recorded December 9, 2022, Cetecom’s Amber Neves explains the reasoning behind setting up the lab. “RF engineers Tier-1 automotive companies are designing their own TCUs and ECUs,” she said. The difference comes from development of electric vehicles (EVs) as opposed to gas-powered vehicles.
“People are choosing cars based on comfort and connectivity,” said Neves. “They expect connectivity wherever they go.” Today’s vehicles have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G, 5G, radar, lidar and V2X connectivity built in, all of which needs testing even though RF engineers may design in wireless connectivity using certified RF modules. Those radios can interfere with each other, especially those operating in the unlicensed bands.
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