Jensen, M., "Quantifying Electrical System Worst-Case Performance Prior to Prototype Test and Production," SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars – Electron. Electr. Syst. 9(1):107-113, 2016, doi:10.4271/2016-01-0074.
Electronics now control or drive a large part of automotive system design and development, from audio system enhancements to improvements in engine and drive-train performance, and innovations in passenger safety. Industry estimates suggest that electronic systems account for more than 30% of the cost of a new automobile and represent approximately 90% of the innovations in automotive design. As electronic content increases, so does the possibility of electronic system failure and the potential for compromised vehicle safety. Even when designed properly, electronics can be the weakest link in automotive system performance due to variations in component reliability and environmental conditions. Engineers need to understand worst-case system performance as early in the design process as possible. While traditional electronic design flows use modeling and simulation to analyze system performance prior to prototype, test, and production, limits in model fidelity and simulator capability limit worst-case design evaluation options. However, with the right combination of modeling techniques and simulation capabilities, it is possible to improve model and simulation fidelity to include advanced worst-case effects such as aging, and high and low temperature exposure. By modeling a basic diode and using a standard bridge rectifier circuit example, this paper illustrates important methods and considerations for modeling and analyzing the advanced worst-case performance of electronic systems.