Emerging Autonomous Vehicles Still Require Old-School Components

Although the engineering community knows this quite well, tech savvy individuals sometimes fail to realize that all emerging, cutting-edge technologies rely on a plethora of component types that have been around for at least a century. Resistors, inductors, capacitors, diodes, etc., may have been improved, customized, and shrunken down to near microscopic proportions, but they are still the same in form and function.


Self-driving cars, a.k.a., autonomous vehicles, for example, require a wide array of traditional components that need to withstand some rather rigorous conditions. Extreme internal and external heat, cold, humidity and moisture, high current surges, and continuous voltages of various levels are a few of the conditions these components must handle. And in function, regardless of the conditions, they need to be precise and reliable.


A common component found in vehicles of all types that withstands considerable abuse is the resistor. These are usually of the power-handling variety and require a bit of bulk. For autonomous vehicles, these, again, need to be accurate and reliable, but also need to meet certain standards, in particular Automotive Electronics Council (AEC) specs.


Simply described, the AEC promotes the standardization of reliability or qualification standards for automotive electronic components. Its members and governing council is comprised of major auto and electronic component manufacturers in the US.


Groomed for current and emerging automotive designs, KOA Speer recently developed a series of power-shunt and current-sense resistors, the PSL2. Housed in a 2512 package, they specify an 8W power rating and an operating temperature range from -65°C to +175°C. Power shunts are available in resistance values of 0.3 mΩ and 0.5 mΩ and are AEC-Q200 qualified. AEC-200 describes the protocols and procedures for testing surge-current handling capabilities of the resistor.


Other PSL2 specs include a TCR of ±115ppm/°C, ±175ppm/°C with a resistance tolerance of ±1%. Suitable for automatic mounting and reflow soldering, the components are primarily employed for current detection in automotive dc/dc conversion, automotive modules, motor control applications, and power supplies. Contact KOA Speer for more information.