When Tesla was in the process of ramping up production for the
and attempted to employ even more automation than it had with previous models, the robots had trouble with laying out the long, floppy wiring harness and Tesla had to revert back to having humans perform the process.
Tesla's immediate solution at the time was to shrink the size of the various harnesses into smaller sections that were less complicated to install in the vehicle. The new architecture design iterates on that idea by breaking the harnesses out into subassemblies with controllers. This also allows the harness pieces to be made more rigid, which will ease installation for robots.
These subassemblies can be preassembled and placed into vehicle components -- Tesla uses the example of doors in its patent application -- so that the only electrical connection that needs to be made on the line is the one between the door subassembly and the main loom.
This type of modular construction would also reduce the number of individual wires in the harness. Other benefits could include the ability to upgrade a vehicle's electrical components and systems more easily since it doesn't need to affect the entire harness.
Tesla's design is still in the application process for a US patent, but it is neat and could represent a significant labor cost savings if it comes to fruition.
Tesla Model S Long Range takes us back to the future