Home / Latest News / Continental Zone Control Units Further Server-based Vehicle Architecture


Continental are well-known for their contribution to vehicle electronics, and their latest Zone Control Units (ZCU) take us one step closer to server-based vehicle architecture. The Continental Zone Control Units bundles all the electronic and electrical components including sensors and actuators in a local section, or “Zone” of the vehicle—these could be at the front, back, left or right. The ZCUs optimise data paths and simplify the architecture, and as they replace a multitude of individual control units, they also reduce weight. Continental claim that the resultant architecture is so simple that manufacturers may be able to install it automatically in the future.

The ZCUs are connected to the relevant high-performance computers via an ethernet link. This helps in separation of hardware and software, as well as aiding to achieve optimum cybersecurity and update capability. The ZCUs are responsible for special tasks such as control, real-time functions, signal-to-service conversion, communication management and decentralised energy supply.

The ZCUs essentially act as intermediaries between the sensors and the actuators and the high-performance computers to ensure the execution of commands from the server tier is streamlined. The ZCU can supply power to the peripheral ECUs as well, and they are future-proof as they can work with 48-volt systems.

Jean-François Tarabbia, Head of the Architecture and Networking business area at Continental, said, ‘With high-performance computers, we are pioneers in the top control tier of server-based vehicle architectures. With zone control units, we also offer a solution for the middle tier. Our platform-based and modular development approach enables us to start series production within just over a year of receiving an order. This is how we are bringing the software-defined vehicle to the road more speedily.’

Continental are making the ZCUs available for both European and Asian car manufacturers, and they have received multiple customer orders for ZCUs from car manufacturers worldwide.


About the author: Sayantan De



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