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Development of Automotive PCB
Table of Contents

Electrification and intelligence bring automotive PCB expansion

Printed circuit boards (PCB) are independent modules composed of interconnected electronic components. They can be found in the electronic devices we use daily, such as mobile phones, routers, and personal computers to complex radars, missiles, and satellites.

Automotive PCB
Automotive PCB

To complete the intelligent upgrade of automobiles, on the one hand, it is necessary to add intelligent modules such as smart cockpits and autonomous driving; on the other hand, intelligence requires the transformation of the vehicle architecture from traditional mechanical to more intelligent electronic and electrical architecture (EEA for short) so that it can support intelligent requirements for motion control.

The underlying hardware support for the electrification and intelligence of automobiles is automobile electronic modules. Electronicization has caused the proportion of automotive electronics costs to continue to increase, and it is expected that the proportion of automotive electronics costs will be close to 50% by 2030 . As the core of electronics, PCB’s application in automobiles will also be significantly improved. According to CPCA estimates, global automotive PCB output value will reach US$9.5 billion in 2025, and the compound growth rate from 2020 to 2025 will reach 7.8%.

Automotive PCB manufacturing and assembly

Diversified demands for automotive PCBs

Automotive PCBs are mainly 4-8 layer boards, with high product reliability and stability requirements, stable prices, small fluctuations, and long product certification cycles.

With the trend of automobile electrification and intelligence, PCB solutions are diversified. From the traditional solution based on 4-6 layer multilayer boards to PCB solutions such as HDI PCB, metal heat dissipation substrates, thick copper substrates, and built-in component boards, the PCB usage in single vehicle has increased and the technical difficulty has increased.

Development trend of automotive PCB

Development Trend of Automotive PCB
Development Trend of Automotive PCB

1. 800V high-voltage charging requires higher PCB voltage resistance and lower thermal resistance
800V high-voltage fast charging will become a mainstream solution. As the charging voltage of electric vehicles increases, the size of components will become larger, and the corresponding PCB traces need to withstand greater current. When designing, it is necessary to avoid problems such as overload, overheating or controlled derating of charging current. At this time, thick copper or embedded copper solutions are often used: thick copper PCBs are highly multi-layered, and buried copper and embedded copper processes are introduced to increase heat dissipation capabilities.

2.Lightweight requirements for automotive BMS systems
In the battery module managed by the power battery BMS, PCB or FPC is used to replace the wiring harness to achieve lightweight requirements and save space.

3.High-end perception systems are inseparable from hard-software boards
The high-level autonomous driving system consists of three parts: the perception layer, the decision-making layer, and the execution layer. The perception layer consists of the camera CIS and radar transceiver, the decision-making layer consists of the camera ISP and signal processor, and the execution layer consists of various execution modules.

Due to higher reliability requirements, sensors such as cameras and laser radars will give priority to the interconnection solution of a combination of soft and hard boards and abandon the use of connectors.

4.Smart cockpits require high multi-layer HDI PCB
The smart cockpit in the car integrates functions of multiple operating systems and security levels to meet multi-modal human-computer interaction such as touch/intelligent voice/visual recognition/intelligent display. Solutions such as AR-HUD and electronic exterior rearview mirrors have emerged. High degree of integration and super computing performance promote the increase in HDI usage. PCBs for core links such as in-car entertainment systems, autonomous driving main controls, and in-vehicle servers usually use high-speed materials and are designed with more than 10 layers and level 3 HDI.

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