BAD SALZDETFURTH, Germany - Delphi Automotive Systems has opened an antenna test facility here to keep pace with the growth in mobile multimedia. The supplier wants to satisfy demand for more sophisticated automotive receiver systems.
Called the Fuba Dome, the facility, located in this small town near Hanover, will support research by Delphi's subsidiary Fuba Automotive GmbH and Co. The Fuba Dome took two years to build and is claimed to be among the most advanced operations of its kind in the world.
Modern vehicles have as many as 15 antenna modules. To obtain optimum radio reception alone requires up to five modules for amplitude and frequency modulation, and strongest-signal identification, said Fuba research executive Michael Daginnus.
In the medium term the number of antennas will rise to around 20 to handle such functions as satellite reception, navigation systems, television, mobile phone, e-mail, Internet, speech functions and digital radio.
So far engineers have found space in which to 'hide' antennas to avoid spoiling the appearance of cars. Daginnus said Delphi is working on ways to integrate reception technology into a vehicle so that it remains invisible and takes up minimal space.
'The new test facility gives Delphi capabilities that may be unique in the world at the moment,' said Jose-Maria Alapont, President of Delphi Automotive Systems Europe.
'The antenna modules developed here will soon be supplied to car plants in Europe, Asia and the USA for all kinds of radio-controlled safety and comfort features.'
Delphi forecasts 25-30 percent annual growth in its mobile multimedia business. Current annual revenue is more than $200 million.