Technology Update from Germany: March 2006

April 3, 2006
DIESEL SHARE CONTINUES TO GROW: According to information provided by the German Automobile Industry Association (VDA—, car sales in Western Europe achieved a decent growth at the beginning of this year


According to information provided by the German Automobile Industry Association (VDA—, car sales in Western Europe achieved a decent growth at the beginning of this year. In January, it is estimated that 1.2 million cars were sold, 3% more than in the same month last year. Of the high-volume markets, Germany and Italy recorded the greatest increase with 11% each, whereas in France it was just 3%. While sales in Spain remained more or less stable, the market in Great Britain showed a drop of 13%.

Although the number of vehicles sold in France increased, sales for French manufacturers fell by 4%. In contrast, sales of foreign cars increased by 12%. Volkswagen and Mercedes showed large increases of 36% and 12%, respectively. Overall, the German producers were able to increase their sales by 13%, thereby achieving a market share of 27.7%, which corresponds to a growth of 2.5%.

By comparison, diesel cars are enjoying increasing popularity in Western Europe. Its share of the newly licensed motor vehicles in Western Europe increased by 1.2% to 49.5%. Thus, compared to the same period last year, 2.4% more diesel cars were sold this year, making the new total 7.2 million vehicles. In contrast, sales of gasoline-driven vehicles fell by 2.4% to 7.3 million cars. German manufacturers profited more than most from the continuing positive trend being enjoyed by diesel-driven vehicles. Consequently, German makers have increased their sales of diesel cars by 10%, thereby achieving a market share of 51%.


Engineering tools supplier dSPACE GmbH ( based in Paderborn has equipped its control unit calibration application CalDesk with a software module for diagnosis and flash programming in compliance withthe ODX data standard. The core diagnostic functions include the reading and resetting of the error memory, as well as the performance of diagnostic services and Java jobs. CalDesk works directly on the ODX data (ASAM-MCD 2D V2.0), so that conversion to a proprietary format is not required.

All functions of the diagnosis module are seamlessly integrated into the main application CalDesk; existing dSPACE-CAN hardware can still be used via the diagnosis interface and can be applied jointly for measurement, application and diagnosis. The new 1.3 version will probably come out this spring.

VERIFYING SOFTWARE IN PRACTICAL TESTS Using high-performance mobile hardware, which creates the connection between the “prototyping” software and the control and measurement devices in the engine compartment, it will be possible to use the automobile as a “testbed.” A “rapid prototyping” hardware module, designated ES910, is available from ETAS GmbH ( as a supplement to its experimental system ES1000. This software enables the rapid prototyping of electronic systems in the vehicle on the basis of MATLAB/Simulink and ASCET models, with vehicle-related verification running via the ES1000 system.


Starting with the spring 2008 model year, Siemens VDO intends to offer body control devices based on a modular system. Although in the past, electronic manufacturers conceived a body control module from the ground up in accordance with the requirements of the vehicle manufacturers, the trend is to use function modules from an internal library.

The basic architecture of the platform and the development of the functions have already been developed based on the forthcoming AUTOSAR standard. Initial series projects have shown that the theoretical advantages of this approach can be translated into practice.


Hella KGaA Hueck & Co. ( intends to expand its field of camera-based driver assistance systems. Hence, its acquisition of the Berlin firm Aglaia GmbH, a manufacturer of visual sensor systems for the automobile industry, which was completed earlier this month, is expected to help achieve this goal. The company plans to expand the Berlin facility into a competence center for image processing within the Hella electronics division.

The camera-based driver assistance systems include active night vision systems consisting of a camera, infrared headlights and display, as well as systems for recognizing traffic signs, objects and driving lanes. Additionally, Hella will be starting series production of a reversing camera. Rolf Breidenbach, chairman of the board of directors, justifies the takeover of Aglaia as a “strategically important investment in the future” for the development of future light-based driver assistance systems with which objects that are important to road users can be specifically detected and made visible.

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