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Special Feature
Newsletter "SEI WORLD" Vol.448


A car has many built-in mutually linked electronic control units (ECUs) that exchange signals, forming a number of communication networks.
Our product Central Gateway connects these networks and intermediates among the ECUs, acting as a communication station to coordinate signals being exchanged.
Sumitomo Electric has begun mass-producing this product, which has already been adopted by international car manufacturers.

Incorporation of electronic control into cars

Electronic control is becoming increasingly common in cars
Electronic control is becoming increasingly common in cars

Electronic engine control by means of ECUs was launched to satisfy the exhaust regulations and higher fuel-efficiency needs that became common in the 1970s. Ever since, an increasing number of car components have become electronically controlled, including basic car components such as the transmission, steering system, brakes and suspension; car body components such as the air conditioner, door locks, and power windows; information units such as navigation system and audio/video system; and safety equipment such as air bags and cameras. Today, some car models are equipped with as many as 100 ECUs.

Networking ECUs

When electronic control was first introduced into cars, they were independently connected with switches and sensors, to control the units concerned. As the number of functions provided for a car increased, some mutually related ECUs were connected via a communication line, to be able to operate in harmony with each other in exchanging information.
Today a car has improved driving safety, being able to brake or turn while maintaining stability, since the basic functions of driving, turning and braking coordinate with each other. This is enabled by the ECUs, which form a network for each control system they are related to and that share information. As more functions are provided for cars, these networks increasingly share information mutually.

Central Gateway

Central Gateway

Networks handle a variety of communication protocols and data formats, and it is necessary to convert them to transmit signals to the receiving network without delay. The gateway ECU is placed between them to perform these functions. This arrangement, however, makes the overall communication network in the car more complex because the number of links between the networks increases each time a new function is added. In addition, when information is transmitted through multiple gateways, the transmission could be delayed depending on the networks’ communication conditions. The Central Gateway unifies these gateways and connects the individual function networks to a single gateway.

Network design using Central Gateway

The Central Gateway simplifies the network configuration and enables integrated control of all the networks. It makes it possible to provide each system with a specific communication design, increasing system design flexibility and functional extensibility. In addition, because signals do not need to go through multiple gateways, any delay in communication transmission will be improved. As newer safety driver assistance technologies are incorporated, higher-speed, larger-volume information communications are used. The Central Gateway enables connection even with such new advanced networks.

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