2 Jun 2011
Electric vehicles become electronic
About 80% of the value of a military jet aircraft lies in the circuitry, up from almost nothing a century ago. Civil airliners are about 50% electric and electronic, whereas the family car is around 30% so far, all these percentages steadily rising. The point is that an aircraft has far more than the radar, communications and other instruments accessed by the pilot: it is a sea of sensors, fuel controls and servo systems in the engines, wings and elsewhere. Even the family car adds much more than the satnav, phone, proximity sensors and other electronics directly assisting the driver, the MEMS accelerometer controlling the air bags being just one of an increasingly huge number of out-of-sight safety and other measures controlled by circuitry.