Member Updates


Zonal Architecture


By Jonathan Mill, ETTN Select Committee Member

Zonal architecture is a major leap forward in automotive technology. By decentralizing electrical systems and dividing vehicles into distinct zones, this innovative approach offers numerous benefits such as streamlined wiring, enhanced safety, scalability and an improved user experience. As automakers continue to adopt and refine zonal architecture, we can anticipate a future where cars are not only smarter and more efficient but also a new area of aftermarket customizability.

By replacing the conventional centralized wiring system with a distributed approach, this organizes the vehicle into multiple domains. Each domain comprises a network of interconnected modules and sensors responsible for specific functions such as power distribution, infotainment, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and climate control. By compartmentalizing these functions, zonal architecture could create opportunities for aftermarket companies to create modules that improve various functions of the vehicle.

One of the key advantages of zonal architecture is its scalability and flexibility. Companies could easily adapt and upgrade vehicle functions by adding or modifying modules within specific zones. This modularity allows for faster integration of new technologies, such as autonomous driving capabilities and over-the-air software updates.

Zonal architecture can significantly enhance the in-car experience for both drivers and passengers. By distributing computing power across various zones, the system enables faster response times and connectivity between different components. This translates into enhanced infotainment systems, advanced ADAS features and personalized comfort controls. Moreover, zonal architecture supports the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms, enabling intelligent features like voice recognition, gesture control and personalized driver profiles.

All in all, this new and exciting segment of the market has yet to be explored by the aftermarket. It definitely has the industry thinking "How can aftermarket companies jump on board?"