As the modern-day automobile becomes more and more dependent upon electronics, designers are being faced with new challenges in power control, advanced communications, and sensing applications.

Circuit protection – specifically, that which is being designed to prevent damage caused by hazardous overvoltages and overcurrents – has evolved to maintain pace with the vehicle transition to what is essentially a supercomputer on wheels nowadays.

Littelfuse has put together an automotive electronics application guide, authored by Carlos Castro, which details how best to protects one’s designs. It provides 15 example application diagrams, including motor control, lighting systems, battery management, infotainment, navigation, communication, and more, and guides the reader through proper circuit protection technology for each type of electrical threat.

From a section within the article, entitled “The Future is Now”:
Whether powered by gas-electric, fuel cell electric, diesel-electric, Li-ion polymer, or ultra-capacitor engines, electric vehicles are challenging automakers to address higher energy applications, including Battery Management Systems and onboard charging systems. Autonomous (self-driving) vehicles are already making appearances on the road. Similarly, connected vehicles are offering Internet access for connecting with devices both inside and outside the car. A range of new protocols are emerging:

• When there is the potential for a collision, V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) communications notify the driver or autonomous vehicle to take evasive action.

• V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure) communications allow the traffic system to collect data that can be used to control traffic light timing, allowing more efficient traffic flow.

• BroadR-Reach technology allows multiple in-vehicle systems to access information simultaneously over unshielded single twisted-pair cable.

• HDBaseT has historically been used in the consumer and high-end A/V market to provide high-bandwidth, long-reach capabilities. A new, automotive version has been introduced to provide 6Gbps throughput for in-vehicle convergence of high-def A/V, USB, ethernet, feature controls and power on a single pair of wires.

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