Mazda Motor has been granted a patent for a design method for a vehicle control system. The method involves determining whether an operation-signal generation unit should be provided in a zone ECU or in a central processing unit based on the allowable delay time from when operation information is input to when a control signal is output. If the allowable delay time is less than a predetermined reference time, the operation-signal generation unit is provided in the zone ECU. GlobalData’s report on Mazda Motor gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Mazda Motor, collision avoidance system was a key innovation area identified from patents. Mazda Motor's grant share as of September 2023 was 27%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Design method for vehicle control system with zone ecus

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Mazda Motor Corp

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11772668B2) describes a design method for a vehicle control system that includes multiple zone ECUs (Electronic Control Units) and a central processing unit. The method involves determining the placement of an operation-signal generation unit, which generates operation signals for vehicle actuators based on information from an information acquisition unit.

The method specifies that the allowable delay time, from when the operation information is input to the information acquisition unit to when a control signal for the actuator is output, should be set in the actuator. If the allowable delay time is equal to or greater than a predetermined reference time, the operation-signal generation unit for the actuator is placed in the central processing unit. However, if the allowable delay time is less than the predetermined reference time, the operation-signal generation unit is placed in the first zone ECU to which the actuator is connected.

The patent also mentions that the predetermined reference time includes the time required for protocol conversion between the communication protocols used for communication between the actuator and each zone ECU, as well as between each zone ECU and the central processing unit.

In addition to the design method, the patent also describes a vehicle control system that implements this method. The system consists of multiple zone ECUs, each connected to an actuator in a predetermined zone of the vehicle, and a central processing unit that controls the zone ECUs. The system operates based on operation information from an information acquisition unit.

The system sets an allowable delay time for each actuator, and the central processing unit includes a first operation-signal generation unit that operates an actuator with a delay time equal to or longer than a predetermined first reference time. Each zone ECU includes a second operation-signal generation unit that operates an actuator with a delay time less than a second predetermined reference time.

Furthermore, the patent mentions a non-transitory computer-readable storage device that contains instructions for controlling the zone ECUs and the central processor. These instructions cause the circuitry to set the allowable delay time for each actuator and include the first and second operation-signal generation circuits in the central processor and zone ECUs, respectively.

Overall, this patent presents a design method and system for a vehicle control system that optimizes the placement of operation-signal generation units based on allowable delay times, ensuring efficient and effective control of vehicle actuators.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.