Over the last decade, we've seen safety systems such as ABS and air bags become common on cars. Other safety features such as traction-control and stability-control systems are starting to become common as well. Each of these systems adds a new module to the car, and this module contains multiple microprocessors. In the future, there will be more and more of these modules all over the car as new safety systems are added.
Each of these safety systems requires more processing power, and is usually packaged in its own electronics module. But it doesn't end there. In coming years, we'll have all kinds of new convenience features in our cars, and each of these requires more electronics modules containing multiple microprocessors.
It seems that there is no limit to how much technology carmakers are going to pack into our cars. The addition of all these electronic features is one of the factors driving carmakers to increase the system voltage on cars from the current 14-V system to a 42-V system. This will help provide the extra power these modules require.
For more information on car computers and related topics, check out the links below.