Skip to main content
shopping_basket Basket 0
Log in

Ask The Expert - Zonal Architecture

Electronics now represent over 50% of the value of many vehicles. Despite the advances in technology, how vehicles are manufactured has not changed significantly for decades, and that poses problems for designers. The physical space required for all these systems, and the cabling needed, prevents their effective use. A new way to solve the electronics problem needed to be solved.

To investigate this problem and how the manufacturers are solving it, I recently interviewed Ryan Price, the Director of Marketing for Molex’s Transportation and Industrial Solutions. In our conversation, we looked at how Zonal Architecture is transforming vehicle design. Molex is at the leading edge of imagining how connectors will be configured in the future of vehicle design.

To learn more about this exciting new area of automotive design, join Ryan and me as we look into Zonal Architecture.

Thoughts from Connector Geek


The automotive industry has always been an exciting place to see new technology. The features found in everyday cars have been adapted from some pretty amazing places, from the fastest racing cars to the most advanced combat aircraft.

Although manufacturers are constantly developing new features to make our cars more advanced, there are a number of trends that are poised to completely change both the cars we drive and how we use them.

The electric vehicle is not new, but the growth of hybrid and all-electric power for cars has been rapid. However, in terms of technology, the electrification of the automotive industry is not a revolutionary change. It simply replaces one power source – the internal combustion engine – with another. Other advances are having a far greater impact in how vehicles are made.

The in-car experience has received a lot of attention recently. Designers are imagining a time in the near future when drivers choose a vehicle, not for its performance or fuel economy, but instead for their personal fulfilment. They see the car not just as a means of transport, but as a new living space.

This in-vehicle experience will be provided by advanced displays, connectivity and entertainment to create an immersive environment for the driver and passengers. This in-vehicle experience will also be completely integrated with the next major innovation, Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems, or ADAS. ADAS is a catch-all name that will include everything from simple reversing cameras to the use of artificial intelligence for identifying and avoiding road hazards. ADAS takes inputs from a range of sensors including cameras, radar and lidar systems. It then interprets the data collected to provide additional safety for road users.

It is but a short step from the latest ADAS to fully autonomous vehicles. Self-driving cars have hit the headlines, and in order for them to be widely accepted, they will use high-speed computers to provide the level of safety that consumers and regulatory bodies will demand.

The in-car experience, the use of ADAS and the growth of autonomous vehicles will all depend on wireless connectivity. Each road user will be connected via the latest 5G network (and beyond) to form a network of devices that share information. This is known as V2X or Vehicle-to-Everything technology and is an example of the Internet of Things (IoT) in action. Each road user will be able to share traffic and hazard information to create a safer environment.

Molex offers a full range at RS, but here are a few selected range highlights from me Connector Geek. Also, scroll down further for featured products.


You can see my previous interviews with Molex using these links.

Industrial Connectivity with Molex

IIoT and Industry 4.0 with Molex

Connector Geek is Dave in real life. After three decades in the industry, Dave still likes talking about connectors almost as much as being a Dad to his two kids. He still loves Lego too. And guitars.
DesignSpark Electrical Logolinkedin