Gaps exist at critical junctures in the design process that work against creation of intelligent automotive electronic systems and networks capable of providing advanced functionality while remaining cost effective, reliable, and durable. Ultimately, encumbrances in the design process lead to systems characterized by quality problems in both hardware and software that are placing a heavy warranty cost burden on manufacturers. This paper illustrates gaps in the design process, discusses their effects on efforts to solve engineering problems, and examines how product quality and cost are affected. Finally, an approach is suggested that enhances control of design processes and improves decision making in view of an understanding of the diverse systems that make up the whole vehicle, while saving time, improving quality, and helping to control costs.

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