Open Architecture ECU Technology Collaboration Promises Faster Market Entry for New Powertrain Innovations

Ricardo and Pi Shurlok have today announced a collaboration that will enable their customers to benefit from the ability to develop new products based on world-class control technology that can move quickly and seamlessly from concept to production, enhancing the potential and reducing time to market for new powertrain and hybrid vehicle innovations

Oct 11, 2010, 08:00 ET from Ricardo

VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP, Mich., Oct. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Under the terms of the collaboration, Ricardo and Pi Shurlok have agreed to work closely together to provide customers in the automotive, commercial vehicle, off-highway equipment and defense vehicle sectors with a completely new service. The two companies will offer the option of a comprehensive and fully integrated solution ranging from the development of powertrain products incorporating new ECUs by Ricardo, through to high quality, volume electronics manufacture and supply from Pi Shurlok. This joint service will be based upon a choice of Ricardo's open architecture "Morfeus" controller and Pi Shurlok's OpenECU technology, for which a wide range of production-ready ECUs is available for new vehicle innovation programs.

For almost all new conventional and hybrid powertrain technology development programs, enhancements are necessary to the product's control software and the electronics of the ECU hardware on which it operates. In particular where enhancements are sought to performance, fuel economy, emissions and supervisory control, such changes frequently entail the use of a prototype level controller for the purposes of initial development. Once product targets are achieved, the same functionality has to be subsequently re-engineered on a production-ready ECU platform. Using either Ricardo's Morfeus or one of Pi Shurlok's OpenECU products however, Ricardo is able to develop the prototype system on a production-ready platform which is immediately available for series manufacture.

Pi Shurlok has a broad-ranging automotive customer base comprising many of the world's leading automotive, transportation and related sector companies including BMW, Detroit Diesel, Ford, Mercedes Benz, Renault, Toyota and VW, and their respective tier one suppliers, and has a business model and development capability which is extremely complementary with that of Ricardo. The collaboration remains non-exclusive and both Ricardo and Pi Shurlok will continue to offer their products and services independently of each other. By combining their respective services and products in this way however, the two companies believe that their joint customers will be able to derive significant benefits in both time-to-market and product functionality and quality.

Commenting on the collaboration with Ricardo, Pi Shurlok's chief operating officer for international operations Dr Nigel Preston said, "Our innovative OpenECU™ hardware and tools are proving to be a popular and effective automotive electronics solution, for both prototyping and production. We are delighted to be working with the leading industry service provider, Ricardo, to integrate our technology within their large-scale, new product, development programs."

Ricardo plc executive director Mark Garrett added, "The collaboration between Ricardo and Pi Shurlok provides a completely new business model for our customers in the automotive, commercial and off-highway vehicle and related market sectors. This will enable Ricardo to develop next-generation world class conventional and hybrid powertrain products for customers using a range of production-ready development platforms. In this way Ricardo customers intending to use Pi Shurlok for production ECU fulfillment, will be able to take advanced product development from concept to market in a much shorter timescale without compromising functionality or quality."

About Ricardo

With technical centers and offices throughout Europe, the United States and Asia, Ricardo provides strategic consulting and engineering expertise ranging from vehicle systems integration, controls and electronics, and hardware and software development, to the latest driveline and transmission systems and gasoline, diesel, hybrid and fuel-cell powertrain technologies. Ricardo's customers include the world's major automakers and suppliers as well as manufacturers in the military, commercial, off-highway and clean-energy sectors. The company also serves in advisory roles to governmental and independent agencies. Ricardo's U.S. operation, Ricardo Inc., is headquartered in Van Buren Township, Michigan. Ricardo plc posted sales of $244.4 million in financial year 2010 and is a constituent of the FTSE TechMark 100 index — a group of innovative technology companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. For more information, visit

Pi Shurlok is a world leader in the development and manufacture of electronics for the automotive, transportation, defence and industrial markets. Using its OpenECU™ products; its engineering services; and its manufacturing capabilities, Pi Shurlok delivers rugged, cost effective, electronics solutions for single prototypes up to volumes of more than 100,000. Pi Shurlok's engineering services teams are skilled in electronics design, electronics manufacturing and systems design, including engine management; transmission and emissions control on gasoline, diesel and hybrid powertrains, body and chassis control and infotainment. Pi Shurlok is a wholly owned subsidiary of Control Instruments Group Limited, a company listed on the JSE Limited since 1987, (JSE: CNL). For more information, visit

SOURCE Ricardo