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AUTOMOTIVE HIGH-SPEED MULTIPLEXING ON THE WAY

 DETROIT, June 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Researchers from Chrysler, Ford and General Motors are working together to perfect a high-speed serial data (HSSD) communication system that will act as a vehicle's central nervous system, revolutionizing electronic vehicle controls, improving quality and making advanced diagnostics a near-term reality.
 Instead of today's maze of conventional automotive wiring -- nearly 2,000 feet in a typical vehicle -- sophisticated new multiplex networks now under study by the Big Three's High Speed Serial Data Communication R&D Partnership will interconnect computer modules, sensors and actuators using just a few wires or fiber-optic cables. These new networks could cut the size and weight of a typical car's wiring system by 25 percent or more.
 Available for some time, basic multiplex technology currently enables the transmission of fax and computer messages over phone lines. Until recently, however, cost and system complexity have delayed most automotive applications. The new high-speed data-transmission technology will simplify the way cars and trucks are produced, pare down costs and boost quality.
 Chrysler Corporation (NYSE: C) has used low-speed data-link (or multiplex) systems since 1987. General Motors Corporation (NYSE: GM) also has used these systems since 1987 on its Cadillac Allante and has used them for data communications since the mid-1980s. Both systems control accessories such as lights, windows and other comfort-and- convenience items. But Big Three scientists and engineers are taking multiplex technology well beyond any current applications.
 "It is conceivable," said Fred O. Miesterfeld, Chrysler's engineering supervisor of advanced development and current chairman of the Big Three's HSSD consortium, "that multiplexing will make cars smart enough to actually fix themselves."
 He predicts that HSSD also will augment traction, steering, suspension, braking and other vehicle-control functions by the mid- 1990s.
 "Onboard automotive computers will support driver requests for information and control," explained Dr. Casilda de Benito, a member of the partnership's management committee and a project leader at Ford Motor Co.'s (NYSE: F) Scientific Research Laboratory. "We're not taking control from the driver, we're taking the latest technology and using it to enhance vehicle capabilities."
 Time and speed are of the essence. In traction control, for example, information must be communicated between the engine and brakes as often as a thousand times per second. That's where fiber optics, which work wonders in today's telephone communications systems (transmitting hundreds of thousands of signals simultaneously without interference) come in.
 Dr. de Benito likens HSSD to a highway -- in this case, an electronic data highway. "If every driver needed a dedicated lane to travel between cities, that would require a massive transportation system," she explained. "So instead, we all share a little bit of the lane."
 "That's exactly what's happening in a vehicle's multiplex system," Dr. de Benito continued. "A single sensor connects to various computer modules and shares the information."
 Fewer wires also allow engineers and designers the flexibility of adding more controls or providing more room for passengers.
 "The more wires you add to a conventional harness," explained Doug Constance, the General Motors representative on the consortium's management committee and manager of E/E Systems Support at GM's NAO Engineering Center, "the stiffer the harness becomes, and the less easily it can be molded into the bends and contours of a vehicle. So the more wires you can remove by virtue of putting a serial data link in place, the more you help yourself in the assembly plant and in the manufacturing of the harness itself."
 Though all three scientists modestly refer to their research as "transparent technology," HSSD will facilitate some exciting possibilities down the road, particularly in the areas of mobile offices and intelligent vehicle highway systems, so-called "smart highways," that will be capable of traffic flow control and speed regulation, as well as crash avoidance, in the not-so-distant future.
 Established in 1991, the HSSD partnership operates under the auspices of the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), an umbrella organization that facilitates, monitors and promotes precompetitive, cooperative research and development activities among Chrysler, Ford and General Motors.
 -0- 6/28/93
 /NOTE: A photo is available through Larry Weis of USCAR, 313-248-4298. For interviews or further information, CONTACT:
 Media contacts ERC Interview Candidates
 Chris Hosford Fred O. Miesterfeld
 Chrysler Corporation Engineering Supervisor
 313-576-8094 Advanced Electronics
 Chrysler Corporation
 Pam Kueber Dr. Casilda de Benito
 Ford Motor Company Project Leader, Research Laboratory
 313-337-2456 Ford Motor Company
 Mary Roznowski Doug Constance
 General Motors Corporation Manager E/E Systems
 313-986-5717 NAO Engineering Center
 General Motors Corporation
 Larry Weis Don Walkowicz
 USCAR Executive Director
 313-248-4298 USCAR/
 (F GM C)


CO: USCAR; Ford Motor Co.; Chrysler Corp.; General Motors Corp. ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:

DD -- DE006 -- 6136 06/28/93 10:03 EDT
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Date:Jun 28, 1993
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