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In automotive electronics, an electronic control unit (ECU), also called a control unit, or control module, is an embedded system that controls one or more of the electrical systems or subsystems in a motor vehicle. Some modern cars have up to 80 ECUs, including:

  • Engine Control Unit - also known as an ECU
  • Transmission Control Unit - TCU
  • Airbag control unit - ACU
  • Telephone Control Unit - TCU dials telephones for you and talk to your friends
  • Man Machine Interface - MMI
  • Body Control Module - controls door locks, electric windows, courtesy lights etc.
  • Door Control unit
  • Seat Control Unit
  • Climate Control Unit
  • speed control unit
  • Convenience control unit - CCU

Managing the increasing complexity of ECUs and number of ECUs in a vehicle has become a key challenge for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

In some older vehicles, the ECU is referred to as an ECM (electronic control module).