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Timeline to the Future: Tracking Automotive PCB Applications

At some point in your life, curiosity might’ve prompted you to crack open a computer or another electronic device. With its interior exposed, you discovered an assortment of chips, circuits, and etchings painted upon a green canvas.

That canvas, layers of copper and substrate, represents an ever-growing multibillion-dollar business. Having existed for the better part of a century, printed circuit boards are used in virtually all facets of electronics. As technology advances, the circuit board design continues to evolve.

Printed Circuit Board Design Advancements

From hobbyists to the aerospace industry, the applications of the printed circuit board have grown over the years. As these expand, so does the need for advancements in material and capabilities. This trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

Imagine the world before the advent of the Information Age.

Before smartphones and the internet craze, PCBs were already widely used – from toys to fighter jets. There was a time when pocket calculators were considered high-tech. As society grew more dependent on technology, newer innovations continued to be introduced.

Moving forward into the new century, electronics have become more powerful, compact and mobile. People have grown accustomed to being connected. The advances that provided greater connectivity also required more to be packed into each PCB.

Modern Applications in the Automotive Industry

Technology has become firmly integrated into all facets of our lives – including our automobiles.

The demands for safety, convenience, and connectivity require circuit board design to keep pace – if not stay a step ahead. Advancements in the automotive industry meant PCB applications had to accommodate these complex systems.

All new cars require computers to operate. PCBs are at the heart of these system designs and can range in type – including single-sided, double-sided, multilayer, rigid, flexible, and so on. They cover a broad range of applications that are spread throughout a vehicle’s operating systems.

Trucking & Delivery Industry

The initial investment is only the beginning, as there are expenses involved in keeping any vehicle roadworthy. This is particularly true of large trucks that spend their days traversing the nation’s highways.

It’s been stated that as much as 43% of the operating cost of a commercial truck is putting a human in the driver’s seat. With costs continuing to rise, it’s no wonder that the industry has shown great interest in self-driving technology.

Personal Automobiles

While the trucking industry might be looking at autonomous vehicles as a means to save on costs, the consumer market seems focused on other goals. Today, personal automobiles offer incredible technological capabilities made possible by printed circuit board systems.

Convenience is certainly a factor. Still, it’s the potential benefits of safety that make the promise of self-driving cars so attractive. Many auto manufacturers are investing heavily in the future of this technology. It’s not a matter of if but when we’ll see cars driving themselves.

For now, personal automobiles offer precursors to self-driving systems, that take full advantage of PCB technology.

Powertrain Components

An automobile’s engine, transmission, and other components have various electronic control modules. As powertrain designs require more functionality, the number of modules must also increase. Without this medley of synchronized computers, your car wouldn’t get very far down the road.

Comfort and Technology Features

It’s easy to surmise that automotive features like smart keys and navigational systems require computers. Less obvious ones – including numerous sensors and the automatic braking system – are also peppered throughout modern automobiles.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

ADAS systems are electronic safety measures that provide state-of-the-art protections. These system safeguards – video cameras, radar receivers, and other sensors – enhance the driver’s ability to avoid potential accidents.

Dawn of the Autonomous Vehicle Revolution

Imagine a future where a self-driving car stops to pick up passengers. The autonomous drone navigates the roadways along a preset destination – while managing to avoid plowing into anything along the way.

Sound like something in a science fiction movie?

Fiction tends to become reality eventually. Autonomous vehicles already exist. In fact, many segments of the industry are actively testing this technology. Their wide-spread and commercial use are just around the corner.

Printed Circuit Boards in the Self-Driving World

Regardless of the industry, the move to autonomous vehicles requires advancements to make it happen. Printed circuit boards are more than an essential part of the equation – they’re a requirement.

Though technology has helped alleviate human errors that generally cause accidents, people are still skeptical about allowing machines to pilot themselves. A combination of reliable software and hardware is required to ensure as failsafe of a system as possible.

PCB Technology Pushes the Envelope of Emerging Innovations

The automobile had already grown into a complex collection of systems and software – even with humans at the controls. With the ambition of having vehicles take over the driving as well, it’s paramount that the brains of these decision-making vehicles are of the highest quality.

PCB manufacturing and assembly companies, such as Advanced Circuits, are positioned to be key contributors.

Advanced Circuits Leads the Way

In an impatient world awaiting the self-driving car, it makes sense to let a leader in PCB technology take the wheel.

Since 1989, Advanced Circuits has been a leader in printed circuit board manufacturing and assembly. As one of the three largest manufacturers of circuit boards in the US, Advanced Circuits is renowned for quality, reliability and customer service.

One of the few PCB suppliers for DOD contracts, Advanced Circuits manufactures 100% of their boards in the US. Along with the best on-time PCB shipping record, there’s also 24-hour tech support (where you’ll get a live person). Contact us today to discover our advanced PCB manufacturing capabilities.


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