Automotive Electronics

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Want to innovate? Try spending some money

By Brian Fuller Innovation is about a lot of different things. Partly it’s about flexible thinking, being creative. Partly it’s about taking risk. One thing that often gets overlooked in innovation is raw spending power. If you put  money into R&D, the odds are that you are going to be a little bit more innovative than the next company. One

car of the future

The car of the future

By Brian Fuller We’ve written all lot about the quickening pace of innovation in automotive electronics design. And you’ll recall the centerpiece of the first part of the Drive for Innovation was an all-electric Chevy Volt, which took us around North America. If you’re in automotive electronics design, you’re no doubt working on a very important and very cool piece


How eight engineers designed the future electric vehicle

SUNNYVALE, Calif.–A key part of any stop on the year-long Drive for Innovation was interacting with engineers either examining our Chevy Volt or driving it around. Everyone has a design suggestion. Analog Devices took it to the next level, in the Fall of 2011, by hosting an outdoor reception during which employees put Sticky-note design suggestions all over the car. That sparked


Nuvation’s mad scientists

SAN JOSE, Calif.–Nuvation is an electronics design-services company here, run by a bunch of guys who are, well, wonderfully insane. They have day jobs, but as the sun arcs below the horizon, the mad scientists in them all come out. They come out to build things like Discofish and take it all the way to Burning Man. They come out

Drive for Innovation Volt next to two Corvettes

The automotive electronics revolution is here

IRVINE, Calif.–Back-up cameras seem almost quaint today, even though the technology is just moving into the mainstream automotive market. That’s because there’s a sense that technology is catching fire really quickly in automotive design and not just at the high end. Earlier this year, as we steered the Volt through the sunny southern California climes, we pulled into Broadcom and


Disruption in the passing lane

SAN FRANCISCO–So much investment, so much sturm und drang around electric vehicles and the charging infrastructure. We’re hailing them one day, burying them the next, toasting them again the day after. GM’s battery plant is on the ropes, but then Elon Musk is building superchargers for his Teslas, gleaming 480V Star Trek machines that pour energizing, solar-sourced juice into your $100,000 ride in

XL Hybrids CAD drawing

A focused approach to eating the big pie

It's sometimes difficult to restrain oneself, much less one's company. Every innovation is born of a huge measure of optimism and confidence that this is the solution for the market. When the Drive for Innovation rolled into Boston in the fall of 2011, we hadn't heard of XL Hybrids. Today, we did, as the company announced a supplier deal with


Nurturing innovation in an engineering team

SANTA CLARA, Calif.–One of the most interesting interviews we came across on the drive was here at Renesas, where we didn't really expect a philosophical discussion of the merits of nurturing innovation. But we found it in Ranjit Deshpande, Renesas' vice president of engineering. He's a veteran of 2Wire, the communications company, and so brings a systems-level perspective to his

Engineering: The other creative option

SAN JOSE, Calif.–Rene Sully didn't start out studying materials science. She started out studying anthropology. Joy Franco has a complex mathematical formula tattooed on her forearm. They're both the face of the new engineer today, and they're taking their experiences as students and already trying to encourage girls not much younger than they to get into–and stick with–technical disciplines. We've

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The Way Back Machine

The Way Back Machine

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