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"We are taking an evolutionary step in functional connectivity"

  • An interview with Senior Vice President Christoph Maag, head of Brose Electronics
Bamberg, 12-15-2020

The electrification of the automobile is indispensable in all fields of vehicle technology, in particular, providing an ever-increasing level of comfort: an intelligent network of sensors and actuators enables new functional scenarios for the user that allows carmakers to distinguish themselves from each other. From sensor-secured automatic side-door drives to dynamic interior concepts with precisely adjustable consoles, seats and ventilation elements – Brose is massively extending its expertise in connectivity and there are numerous attractive jobs on offer.

Brose Elektronik

Mr. Maag, you coordinate the electronics activities at the Brose Group and your responsibilities include further advancing the strategy of this area as well as developing future solutions. How would you describe the innovation culture in electronics development?

One thing is quite clear: Brose is currently the only supplier for perfectly coordinated access and interior products from one source. In development, we always look at the big picture and design new functionalities using networked mechatronics and software expertise. For example, let’s take our radar sensors which support the gesture-aided opening of doors and liftgates as well as protecting them from collision. The same technology, for example, detects a child in an overheated car and by interacting with our intelligent closure systems can avert damage. Moreover, we are looking at control electronics for transmission oil pumps for hybrid vehicles or the electric climate compressor up to 810V – this technology will play a major role in the climate management of electric vehicles.

The increasing electrification in the vehicle is, in your view, constantly opening up new areas of work. Where is this trend headed at Brose?

Our globally deployed electronics department develops and produces hardware and software solutions for vehicle doors and seats as well as for drives. We are constantly seeking to further advance our products and optimize them in the interaction of control-units, drive concepts and sensors. To achieve this, we will be making an evolutionary step towards functional connectivity over the next three to four years aimed at aligning and connecting certain areas of the vehicle. In concrete terms, we will be working in the area of comfort on the next generation of centralized control-units, so-called zone modules.

In doing so, you are staying abreast of increasing centralization in electronics?

Yes, indeed. There are about 150 control-units in an upmarket vehicle. In the future, the single functionalities will be pooled on one central processing unit that, for example, controls smart actuators with integrated electronics. We have already received specific enquiries for door zone modules. In addition to the conventional scope with window regulator, locking mechanism etc. they include glass projections, variable sun blinds in the window and active noise cancelling for the interior. Beginning in 2025, the new generation of the control-unit could be launched in series production.

Will this increase in functional connectivity also mean an increase in jobs?

Yes, it will. As I said, building up our software expertise will be an essential factor. In concrete terms, we are talking about some 50 jobs – primarily for software architects, software engineers and system engineers, but also for electronics project managers and specialists in audio, video, Ethernet, operating systems and cyber security. Anyone interested in having a long-term perspective and working for a great, international team should have a look at our job vacancies .

Thanks for the interview.