Our crazy idea at DAC 2013: Watch the Video


Some time ago, we started evaluating radically new E/E architectures for the cars of tomorrow. One extreme end of the design space, is the consolidation of a setup, where your smartphone is the computational backbone of the car.

The smartphone could become the backbone of your car

Those little devices are omnipresent today, have very fast and energy-efficient processors, a high connectivity and they are easy to carry. On the other hand, the number of control computers in current cars, and the functionality they do provide, are steadily increasing. So why having all that complex architecture in your car, collecting dust when you don't use it, whilst carrying a computing center in your pocket anyway

We decided to submit a paper with the title "Let's put the Car in your Phone!" to the DAC 2013 conference's "Wild and Crazy" section, to call attention to that imbalance, and it got accepted recently. The paper proposes to get rid of conventional E/E architectures in cars, and replace most of it with your mobile phone. The resulting architecture would not only be less complex, but furthermore a lot more flexible. As opposed to conventional control computers (ECUs), which are built-in fixed and hardly update-able, it is easy to update your phone, or replace it with a more recent one. New, appealing opportunities could arise, e.g., you could update your car, add new functions to it, just as you update your computer in these days.

The idea is not as absurd as it may sound in the first place: Car makers antagonize that complexity trend by more dense integration of functionality anyway. We are looking ahead one step further, putting in question the possibly out-dated paradigm of fixed, built-in architectures. Let's make use of the technological advance, for the sake of more flexible cars for tomorrow.

Watch the video below to find out more about our "crazy idea"...