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Robust Autonomous Vehicle Circuitry

The danger of electric shock to electric vehicles is a concern that has been part of the technology since the beginning of such vehicles. Since these vehicles require power that is produced by electricity, there is a significant concern that the electricity, if handled incorrectly, could cause shocks that would damage the vehicle’s circuitry. While this problem is significant, it is certainly not a new one. In fact, managing electricity and electric shocks is very common and safety systems are put into place to mitigate these issues anywhere that electricity is used. The most common issue with dealing with electric shocks, from a vehicle’s standpoint, it handling unwanted or unexpected surges from damaging the electrical components of a vehicle. In an electric vehicle, sensors, cameras, detectors, and the like are all powered by electricity and have the potential of being damaged by an unexpected electrical surge. The problem with electric autonomous vehicles is that these sensors are used to control the vehicle during driving, and failure of these components could potentially lead to a crash. Therefore, safeguards need to be in place to protect these systems. There are standards, established by the International Standards Organization, or ISO, that outline specific overcurrent or shock resistance for components. These standards are: ISO 7637 and ISO 16750. A robust, easy to reset, system that is capable of circuit protection is a device called a positive temperature coefficient (PPTC) resettable fuse. These fuses protect circuits against over-current conditions and best of all, can be easily reset without needing to replace the fuse. This system is more similar to a circuit breaker in a building than a circuit protected by a fuse, such as those used in passenger vehicles. Vehicle signal transmissions must also be very robust, and even fail-safe. These systems require very precise voltages to ensure fast data transmission. Proper diode arrays designed into the transmission circuitry can ensure electro-static discharge protection, and will ensure that data transmission is not affected by surges in electricity.

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