IEE Automotive Electronics Conference

15-16th March 2005, Savoy Place, London, UK  


This was the IEE's first Automotive Electronics conference and according to some delegates I spoke to took 5 years to plan.  The on-site organisation was difficult to fault, as were the facilities since it was at the IEE headquarters, but the proceedings supplied left a lot to be desired due to the absence of a large number of the papers and presentations.


The 2-day conference was divided into 4 tracks, 2 running in parallel on each day.  The division of the tracks was relatively logical, but did make it impossible to combine certain topics if these were of interest.


Day 1


Track 1: Embedded Software in the Automotive Sector


I can only comment on this from the proceedings as I attended Track 2 (see below).


The software session appeared to focus on AUTOSAR, the use of IEC 61508, the latest release of MISRA-C and the use of formal verification tools for safety critical applications.  All the presentations, bar 1, were in the proceedings and most presenters were either at Automotive Vehicle Manufacturers (VMs) or their suppliers.


The IEE's Headquarters, Savoy Place, London, home to the first IEE Automotive Electronics Conference

Track 2: Motors and Power Electronics in Automotive Applications


This was an extremely interesting combination of papers presented mainly by academia, but nonetheless containing many real world examples.  The main applications of interest covered were starter-generator applications and motor assist, although an overview of other motor applications was also provided by at least 2 presenters.  The main impression one obtained from this session was that motors are not only highly pervasive today but are getting more so for the future (a total of 120 motors in a recent Mercedes was quoted several times, and this is without any starter-generator technology).  Another common theme was that brushed DC motors would remain the dominant technology due to the cost of the drive electronics for permanent magnet (PM) machines.  It should be noted however that the presenters were primarily motor designers and not power electronic engineers!


The biggest let down of this session was the total confusion or substitution of speakers from the agenda.  It appeared that only 2 or 3 or the speakers listed in the agenda actually provided their presentation.  Sadly the proceedings similarly only contained 4 papers or printed presentations of the 10 that were given.  This makes the proceedings especially useless as a record of the days events as there is so little in print of what was an excellent session to attend.


Industry Roundtable


Although the roundtable was supposed to cover the whole days sessions it was totally dominated by the software contingent and focussed on the applicability of IEC 61508 and DO178B to the automotive environment.  In fairness to the keynote speakers at the roundtable the software people were much better prepared and gave good introductory presentations, in contrast the track 2 presenters had 2 poor slides for the first introduction and no slides for the second representative (in fairness he was a last minute stand-in)


Day 2


The proceedings for day 2 were as bad as for day 1, half of the papers and presentations were not available  in the printed document. 


Track 3: Advanced Vehicle Electrical Architectures


As I attended track 4 I can again only go on what a colleague at this session told me as there is insufficient detail in the proceedings.  The session included the usual look at hybrid and battery systems and a talk on drive-by-wire, but mainly covered simulation of systems and electrical architectures.  Presentations were primarily from industrialists and some had a definite hint of commercialism (e.g. "Buy our simulation software it's great!") in the presentation.


Track 4: Vehicle Highway Communications and Telematic Applications


This session was another excellent collection of papers and presentations, mostly from the industry.  The majority of the papers were concerned with the infrastructure of road tolling and other road tolling systems, mostly a review of existing systems and look at what standardisation is needed for a global standard in this (5.9GHz radar being the popular roadside-to-vehicle dedicated short range communications method).


The genuine on-board system talks looked at the possibility of creating ad-hoc intercommunicating networks between vehicles and vehicle-to-roadside.  Most of this was future looking (i.e. theory for the time being), with the notable exception of the last presentation from Trafficmaster that discussed both roadside infrastructure and on-board electronics that are used for their traffic information and off-board satellite navigation system.  This last presentation trod on the toes of some of the future wish-list based presentations in that it included existing systems and a prediction of the next generation based on the commercial reality of what this company is actually doing today for  launch in the immediate future, and not dependant on government co-operation or additional infrastructure requirements.


Table-Top Exhibition


On day 1 there was a small table top exhibition with approximately 6 to 8 of the embedded system tool vendors showing their wares to the attending delegates.  This was not running on the second day which was shame as although small seemed quite popular with delegates.




In general the conference was an excellent collection of topics and presentations that covered a very wide range of the automotive electronics spectrum.  There really was something for everyone involved in the auto-electrical industry at the event, it is a shame the proceedings let it down by being so sparse in content.


Attendance was good with approximately 120 on the first day and around 80 on the second.  The second day was not as well organised as the first however as they moved the conference operation centre from the ground floor to the third floor and had a different event on the ground floor (a publishers seminar I believe).  Fortunately the IEE staff were on the ball in redirecting delegates to the correct venue, but it was a bit confused in the morning session of the second day.


Anon. 2005                                                           TOP OF PAGE                                                                 HOME


Editors note: the Trafficmaster presenter was Martin O'Hara, one of the founding members.  It is not known if the author of the above review knew this when submitting the item, but we have not edited the text above from the version that was submitted to us by e-mail.


Martin O'Hara responds;


I agree with the author about the poor state of the proceedings.  I am not sure who is to blame as the IEE Automotive & Transport Professional Network (PN) who organised the event and the IEE Events committee who did the on-site arrangements blamed each other.  There was some discepancies in timing as well as my paper was submitted on-time and wasn't included, whereas I know another presenter in my track was 3 days late and yet was included?  In fairness to the IEE they are putting the missing presentations/papers on their internet site and this should allow a wider audience than those that attended to access this information.


I also agree with the authors comments that overall it was a very successful and worthwhile event.  I was disappointed that more of the UK automotive electronics industry did not turn up in support in the form of presentations and few vehicle OEM's and Tier 1 suppliers were in attendance.  However, I think this is partly the IEE's past policy of charging presenters to attend such events (which was changed for this event at least) that has lead to a dominance of IEE events by companies wanting to give a "soft-sell" commercial message or academia who have to achieve quotas of paper submissions to such conferences and similar events.


If the IEE run a second event in the next 12-18 months I'd personally recommend it on the basis of this first attempt and hope more of the automotive electronics industry turn up in support. 2005                                                           TOP OF PAGE                                                                 HOME