In this interview with Senior Expert for Electrics/Electronics (E/E) Patrick Tassi, we find out what makes him and his work special. He also shares his assessment of how the field of electrics/electronics will change in the automotive industry in the future.
Recently you became a Senior Expert at Zielpuls GmbH. How would you describe your way so far?
After four years in the energy sector as a project engineer in the development of intelligent measurement systems, I was looking for a new job. My dream was to find a job where I could better develop my know-how. In the summer of 2013 I got to know Zielpuls via the Xing platform. Due to the positive discussions during the application process, I was convinced that the consulting tasks at Zielpuls would give me the opportunity to work on innovative projects.
I started at Zielpuls in January 2014 as a technology consultant in an E/E customer project. My focus was on drive development. This was followed by an intensive training period, which aroused my enthusiasm for this innovation-driven field. So I decided to expand my knowledge in this area even further. Accordingly, I chose the career path as an expert. After about two years I became an Expert and since 2018 I am Senior Expert in the field of E/E.
Since my start at Zielpuls I was able to participate in various customer projects. The topics were drive development, driver assistance systems and connected driving.
As an expert in the field of electrics/electronics, how does your day look like at Zielpuls?
The special thing about Zielpuls is that there is no standard daily routine. I dedicate about 80% of my time to customer projects. I use my expertise especially in projects around concept development, requirements management, system and architecture design in the E/E. Due to the high quality of the projects, I can constantly develop myself further. It is also very important for me to share my experience with my colleagues and pass on my specialist knowledge.
In addition to my activities in customer projects, I have taken on other tasks, such as support in the acquisition, coaching and training of colleagues, as well as the further development of the E/E field in the company. In order to keep my specialist knowledge up to date, I attend specialist congresses and take part in selected trainings.
How would you describe E/E and what is it about?
In the automotive industry, E/E functions are implemented via the connection of control units, sensors and electrical actuators and/or via software.
In E/E, a distinction is made between customer, infrastructure and system functions. The customer functions are functions that the customer (e.g. the driver of the vehicle) experiences while using the vehicle. The system functions form the platform and infrastructure for the implementation of customer functions in the vehicle. Although they are not directly recognized by the customer, they are indispensable for the development, production, operation and service of vehicles.
In the automotive industry, E/E is regarded as the basis for innovations in the areas of autonomous driving, e-mobility and digitalization. Over the past 30 years, the automobile has increasingly evolved from a mechanical to a mechatronic system. Connected, software-based E/E functions and components support or substitute an increasing proportion of mechanical components or (sub)systems for increasing comfort and safety. In the automotive industry, it is currently assumed that E/E makes up 30 to 40 % of the value chain in conventional combustion engines and up to 70 % in electric vehicles.
What changes do you see for the E/E field in the future?
In my opinion, the E/E field will continue to gain in importance in the automotive industry, but with different characteristics and consequences.
On the one hand, the electrification of the powertrain will initially increase the complexity of E/E systems through hybridization. On the other hand, however, the completion of the electric drive and the upcoming elimination of the combustion engine with its numerous components will lead to a simplification of the driving system.
Autonomous and connected driving will continue to increase the number and complexity of E/E functions and systems in vehicles. Issues such as functional safety and IT security will play an even more central role in development. Due to the increase of complex and connected functions, the trend from "simple" control units to "high performance computers" in vehicles will accelerate.
In order to cope with this pressure to innovate, it is to be expected that development processes and methods will gain in efficiency and agility and that new innovative developing tools will be used to deal with this complexity.