Hybrid Technology Driving X-by-Wire to Broader Automotive Markets

X-by-Wire or "by-wire" -- the replacement of mechanical functions in a vehicle by a combination of mechanical, electronic and software parts ("mechatronics") -- will gradually find its way into lower-end car models.

Oyster Bay, NY - May 23, 2005 - X-by-Wire or "by-wire" -- the replacement of mechanical functions in a vehicle by a combination of mechanical, electronic and software parts ("mechatronics") -- will gradually find its way into lower-end car models. Hybrid vehicles, a fairly new vehicle type, will exert increasing influence on the by-wire movement, in a number of new ways.


That is one of the conclusions reached by ABI Research analyst Robert LaGuerra in the course of preparing the company's 2005 study, "X-by-Wire: A Strategic Analysis of In-Vehicle Multiplexing and Next-Generation Safety-Critical Control Systems." This report examines by-wire steering, braking and electric parking brake systems. It details the integration of these systems, and forecasts the main target technologies, divided by region, through 2012.

"Traditionally," says LaGuerra, "advanced technologies first appear in luxury models, because they all add expense to the existing basic package of chassis, engine, and so on. But designers of hybrids have been able to start from scratch, and many of the systems they design are by-wire because of these vehicles' particular requirements."

Full hybrids require by-wire systems, and are able to employ them because they produce a lot of wattage -- enough to run mechatronics systems that would be impossible in a conventional 12-Volt vehicle.

Such strategies go beyond full hybrids. For example, conventional vehicles fitted with Belt-Alternator-Starters incorporate hybrid strategies by shutting down the engine while the car is stationary -- borrowing from full hybrid regenerative braking and steering systems that are designed to keep working when the engine is off.

"I believe you're going to see these things in lower-end vehicles," notes LaGuerra. "Korean manufacturers are planning for low-end hybrid vehicles in the next two to three years. Even the Honda Civics and Toyota Priuses are not high-end cars. Hybrid technologies won't be the only drivers of the X-by-Wire movement, but they will take a prominent role."

Founded in 1990 and headquartered in New York, ABI Research maintains global operations supporting annual research programs, intelligence services and market reports in automotive, wireless, semiconductors, broadband, and energy. For information visit www.abiresearch.com, or call +1.516.624.2500.

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