Automotive electronics have been an important sector of the industry for many decades and the amount of automotive electronics in vehicles grows as fast as the electronics sector. I find many of the connectors used in the automotive industry to be amazing - they are often low cost but have to survive in an extremely harsh environment. Unfortunately, in order to mess around with automotive electronics, you kinda need a vehicle and a garage, which is a pretty costly proposition. It is still useful to stay current on automotive connectors, because they have lots of useful features, for other applications, at a reasonable cost.
The evolving part I find most interesting is autonomous driving. It would seem that as the technology around LIDAR and camera related AI improves and gets cheaper it will make its way to other parts of our lives.
I fix my own cars (or close friends and family) so often find I'm testing components, connectors or wiring harnesses. Even with some standardisation things seem to be getting more difficult to undertake at home especially when it comes to resetting or calibrating the system after the mechanical repair is completed.
Anything detailing automobile connectors would be interesting. Even if this primes me up for future years when I come across one such connector, know its model and benefits. I made a comment Poll: How Can Connectors Be Improved? about how connectors always differ, any detail that helps open these up is also useful. Also sometimes engineers borrow things across application so a maritime developer could utilise auto-connectors to some extend.
Something I've wondered about on new cars is that they use the CAN bus and so in theory could a hobbyist utilise it to transfer data for their own devices (assuming bandwidth isn't exceeded nor address conclicts)? I guess the demand might be quite low as many of the cars with such buses also have just about every conceivable device already installed . Might be nice to be able to hoover info off the bus at least and display on a readout. [ps: I know very little about CAN bus ! ]
Not necessarily looking at automotive, but that grade of connectors can be used for all sorts of outside projects, so I would be interested in seeing what is new.
Like Frank, I'm mostly interested in the electronics involved with the autonomous feature of the car: the sensors ecosystem and the "brain" that processes the data. I don't think we will ever get the chance to test the AI side of a car, as I believe I'll be a well protected IP of the companies, but for sure there could be a chance of testing the sensors.
There is a recent trend in cars getting more electronics in many ways. In my hybrid, I have adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, speed indicators read off the sign posts, and automated maintenance reminders. This to me is a marvel how far we have come, but also the limitations. One is the keeping in lanes works, if you use signals to cross a dotted lane like on the highway. Also the sign post speeds get picked up for the express lane and not my lane. It even gets freaky and say I can go 70 MPH in a parking lot.
So definitely I need to learn more to understand the quirks.
If any of you are like me, you have at some point laid beneath a car, pulling, yanking, replacing, or troubleshooting something. Trying to put a new clutch plate on your car or replacing a radiator (on the side of a road) or a battery with corroded connectors is a hassle. And why is it that the 10mm socket always disappeared from my tool box when I really needed it!
Lucky for the new generation of cars, much of this gearhead activity is probably a thing of the past. No more internal combustion engines. They've been replaced by motors and inverters. I haven't even talked about the autonomous cars that are sure to hit the road someday and change the world of transportation. There is so much innovation going on under the hood that I could write a book about it. I find it incredible. And if you are curious, like me, I just want to eat it up.
There is so much technology in cars nowadays that any car needs a variety of connectors. And automotive-qualified connectors are a special breed. They need to handle a lot of temperature variance under often adverse conditions.
Here's my question to you. Actually, a couple of related questions:
1. How much interest do you have in automotive electronics?
2. Would you be interested in community content on the innovations occurring with automotive connectors?
3. If automotive connectors does not thrill you, what would you be interested in learning, experiencing or testing in the automotive space? (I say that because the opportunities in the automotive space are going to be BIG and I can't imagine a community of engineers would not want to know about it.
I appreciate some feedback. You can leave a comment below, or message me at rscasny