A Game Theory Motivated Approach to Analyzing Modularity in Automotive Systems
Thiess, David John Jr
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This paper examines the effect of integrated and modular design on consumers and manufacturers and seeks to determine if there is an optimal design that benefits both. Some consumers perceive the automotive industry to design vehicles with only the company’s benefit in mind, rather than the desires of the consumer. However, the automotive industry seeks to please consumers, while minimizing the cost of production. A game-theoretic based model was developed that was used to determine if there existed a level of modularity for a system that optimized for both the manufacturer and consumer. The game model consisted of two players, the manufacturer and the consumer, which were given the choice of low modularity (integrated) or high modularity (modular) for the design of the system. Five systems were analyzed: headlight bulbs, radiator, and ignition system. The results obtained from the games showed both players favored low modularity for the headlight bulbs, the radiator, and cylinder head. This result is what is typically seen in current designs. For the ignition system and cooling fan, the consumer preferred the low modularity system and the manufacturer preferred the high modularity system. The two players are not in agreement for these systems, and the manufacturer chose the design does not immediately benefit the consumer.