In-vehicle USB chargers save tooling and engineering costs

A range of pre-assembled, off-the-shelf, USB battery chargers for multiple in-vehicle locations from Molex, are now available throughout Europe through TTI. The parts deliver 5V and 1.5A, are compliant with battery charging (BC) 1.2 standards and help save tooling and engineering costs.

The parts have been designed for existing rocker switch panels for commercial vehicles and are compatible with Molex’s automotive I/O connectors. The compact single charger design enables a charging port integration throughout the vehicle. The power supply architecture is adaptable to existing application requirements. All electrical, mechanical, environmental, e electromagnetic interference (EMI), electrostatic discharge (ESD) and signal integrity testing has been completed.

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15nm eMMC NAND Flash targets automotive applications

Toshiba Electronics Europe announces a range of 15nm eMMC (embedded MultiMediaCard) NAND Flash memory for automotive infotainment and industrial applications. Available in an 11.5x13mm package that is fully compliant with the latest JEDEC eMMC standard, Toshiba’s 15nm eMMC chips are among the world’s smallest.

The automotive eMMC supports a wide operating temperature range from -40 to +85°C and meets AEC-Q100 specifications as well as adhering to PPAP requirements.

The new line-up of single-package embedded NAND flash memories is extremely well-suited to the demanding requirements of the automotive infotainment market, and includes densities from 8 to 64GB. Each device integrates a controller to manage basic control functions for NAND applications.

According to industry analyst firm Gartner, the majority of vehicles will be connected to the internet within five years, with 60 to 75% of them being capable of consuming, creating and sharing web-based data. From maps and weather conditions to voice recognition, entertainment, driver assist features and more – cars are quickly becoming much more than just modes of transportation. Accelerated processing power and increased data storage capacity are crucial to enabling all of this connectivity, and Toshiba’s eMMC NAND Flash memory has emerged as the data storage technology of choice for automotive applications.

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Single-line ESD protection diodes save board space

Measuring only 1.95×1.5×0.95mm, Vishay Intertechnology has released two bidirectional single-line ESD protection diodes in the compact SOD-323 package. The space-saving VLIN1626-02G and VLIN2626-02G offer low capacitance and leakage current for the protection of automotive data lines against transient voltage signals.

For LIN bus applications, the diodes provide transient protection for one data line as per IEC 61000 4 2 at ±30kV (air and contact discharge). The AEC-Q101-qualified devices feature a typical low load capacitance of 15.5pF (typical ) and 18pF (maximum), low maximum leakage current of less than 0.05μA, and working voltages of -16/+26.5V or ±26V.

The protection diodes are lead (Pb)-free and RoHS-compliant. Samples and production quantities of the new VLIN1626-02G and VLIN2626-02G are available now, with lead times of eight weeks for large orders.

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Integrated automotive Lidar enables ADAS applications

At CES 2016, LeddarTech is demonstrating how Leddar detection and ranging technology can be integrated into standard automotive components (such as headlamps, rear lamps or side view mirrors) to enable the development and deployment of highly-optimised ADAS sensing solutions.

Examples of lighting system assemblies demonstrating Leddar integration for ADAS sensing will be showcased during CES in collaboration with OSRAM Opto Semiconductors. Sensor performance assessment data and on-road trial results will also be presented.

Available to OEMs and sub-system manufacturers for integration into mainstream automotive products, the cost-effective Leddar optical time-of-flight technology delivers unmatched range-to-power ratio for superior sensing performances in a compact, flexible format, thus accelerating the deployment of reliable active safety systems from luxury to economy car segments alike.

According to Praveen Chandrasekar, Consulting Director & Research Manager, Automotive & Transportation, North America, Frost and Sullivan: “ADAS/Automation is the fastest growing segment in the European and US automotive markets. The overall uptake rate or number of new cars shipped with ADAS systems are expected to exceed 30% of all vehicles sold in North America by 2020 and an even higher percentage in Europe.” Chandrasekar expects ADAS global demand to grow at a CAGR of 24% over the next 5 years.

Various sensing technologies considered for ADAS show promising detection capabilities, but many fall short when it comes to meeting key automotive requirements such as range, form factor, robustness or cost. “Recent market studies reveal that consumers do value the advent of new automotive safety features but remain very price sensitive. Hence, ADAS solutions will have to be very cost-effective without compromising on performance in order to achieve a high rate of adoption by the mainstream car buyers,” states Michael Poulin, Director of product management, LeddarTech.

Leddar solutions bridge the cost, performance and form factor gaps experienced with previous ADAS optical time-of flight sensors. “LeddarTech has developed a unique, patented optical detection technology that can be integrated into ICs and which makes optimal use of every photon to deliver the best range-to-power ratio in the industry,” said Poulin. “Since light sources and optics represent a significant portion of the cost of an optical sensor, Leddar’s superior sensitivity means you can use more affordable optical components to achieve the required level of performance.”

Leddar sensor modules integrating OSRAM Opto Semiconductor light sources such as the SFH4725S high-power IR emitter and SPL-LL90 pulsed laser diodes are readily available. Providing a distance range which can exceed 150m and multi-segment detection over fields of view from 9 to 180°, Leddar technology overcomes many limitations of traditional fixed-beam Lidars. According to OSRAM’s Product Marketing Manager Rajeev Thakur,: “Leddar sensors’ performance may be further enhanced with the addition of OSRAM product concepts being developed for ADAS, such as a new high power pulse laser with integrated driver in a SMD package (905nm; 75W – in the future less than 100W; 5ns switching time) and an upcoming 2×8 photodiode array which would add to Leddar’s versatility.”

Leddar sensing technology provides highly reliable detection and ranging capabilities for a variety of obstacles (i.e. vehicles, structures, pedestrians & cyclists) over a wide field of view without any moving parts in virtually any weather, temperature or lighting conditions, making it a logical choice for automotive ADAS.

“Leddar truly represents a technological breakthrough which enables the high-volume deployments of optical time-of-flight sensing as part of various ADAS systems targeting the mainstream automotive market segments,” said Charles Boulanger, CEO, LeddarTech. “We see tremendous interest from automotive OEMs and sub-system manufacturers to integrate Leddar sensing in either dedicated active safety applications or as part of a more comprehensive sensor fusion solution aiming towards autonomous vehicles.”

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3W current sense chip is now AEC-Q200 qualified

Stackpole Electronics has announced that its CSSH2512 3W current sense chip has now been qualified to AEC-Q200. The CSSH2512 offers resistance values from 0.5 up to 10mΩ in tolerances as tight as 0.5% and TCR as low as 25ppm.

Because of the all-metal construction, the CSSH2512 can handle up to 134A for up to 5s with less than 0.5% resistance shift. This makes it a great choice for a wide range of power supply and motor control applications where high power to size ratio is critical including LED Lighting and automotive electronics and controls.

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Automotive FPGAs operate to 125°C

Microsemi Corporation has announced qualification of its AEC-Q100 grade 1 automotive-grade FPGAs. In addition to outlining the criterion for electronic components to ensure that end systems meet automotive reliability levels, the grade 1 industry standard specification validates Microsemi’s IGLOO2 FPGAs as offering the highest junction temperature in its class―up to an impressive 125º ambient (135ºC junction).

“Our automotive-grade FPGAs offer the highest reliability and security in critical under-the-hood applications to ensure the safety of our customers’ design, data and hardware,” said Bruce Weyer, Vice President and Business Unit Manager, Microsemi. “In addition to providing the highest operating temperature, the IGLOO2 AEC-Q100 grade 1 FPGAs also provide the lowest total power in their class, enabling automotive designers to maximise their dynamic power budget in compact and high performance systems to deliver highly differentiated automotive solutions at the lowest total cost of ownership.”

Microsemi’s IGLOO2 FPGA devices, which also met industry standard specifications for grade 2 temperature range earlier this year along with Microsemi’s SmartFusion2 SoC FPGAs, offer customers single event upset (SEU) immunity from neutron-induced firm errors, helping them achieve the zero defect rate essential for the automotive industry, as well as the company’s award-winning security features and secure supply chain.

These features address the most important design concerns for today’s automotive designers. Microsemi’s newly qualified devices are also the most suitable alternate to ASICs providing a low power, cost-effective, secure and reliable solution for automotive applications including advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), vehicle-to-vehicle/vehicle-to-everything (V2V/V2X) communication and electric/hybrid engine control units.

Demand for high reliability in critical applications, ensuring zero-defect and tamper-free applications, continues to grow rapidly in the automotive industry. With an increase in security mandates amongst its customer base, Microsemi is the only vendor offering automotive-grade FPGAs at higher junction temperature, along with best-in-class security in low power and small footprint packages.

“The automotive market for semiconductors is forecast to grow to $32.3bn in 2016, from $30.3bn in 2015, an increase of almost 7%,” commented Colin Barnden, Principal Analyst, Semicast Research. “In comparison, we see the market for semiconductors in vehicle connectivity and ADAS growing at more than 20% in 2016. Microsemi’s SmartFusion2and IGLOO2 devices bring world class security features to the automotive industry and will address several challenges such as hacking, malicious tampering and data theft faced by system designers in creating safe and secure systems for the connected automobiles of the future.”

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Process Full-HD 12-channel video using just 197mW

Designed for automotive computing SoCs used in autonomous vehicles of the future, Renesas has announced the development of a video processing circuit block.The circuit block handles processing of vehicle camera video with 70ms latency,processing video in real time on large volumes of data with 197mW power consumption and without imposing any additional load on the CPU and GPU, which are responsible for autonomous vehicle control.

Video codec processing basically consists of parsing processing, where performance depends on the volume of encoded stream data, and image processing, where performance depends on the image resolution. The newly developed video processing circuit block implements video encoding and decoding by using a stream processor for parsing processing and a codec processor for image processing. Since the data size of the typical video streams handled by in-vehicle infotainment systems varies greatly from frame to frame, the processing time required by the stream processor, whose performance depends on the volume of encoded stream data, varies substantially from frame to frame. On the other hand, the processing time required by the codec processor, whose performance depends on the image resolution, is the same for every frame. Consequently, the stream processor and codec processor must operate asynchronously and this can cause large delays to become an issue.

The newly developed video processing circuit block has a synchronous operation mode that utilises a FIFO placed between the stream processor and codec processor and can handle video streams that are roughly constant in volume from frame to frame, as is expected to be the case in driving safety support systems. It also has a mechanism whereby the codec processor outputs an interrupt to the CPU each time processing of a multiple of 16 lines has completed during frame processing, thereby allowing distortion correction to start in a later stage without waiting for frame processing to finish completely. This combination of synchronous operation and incomplete-frame pipeline operation achieves low latency of only 70ms (a reduction of 40% compared with existing Renesas devices using the 28nm process) from the reception of video streams to the completion of video decoding and distortion correction.

The newly developed video processing circuit block integrates 17 video processors of six different types in order to achieve real-time and power-efficient video processing without imposing any additional load on the CPU and GPU. Stream processors and codec processors handle video encoding and decoding, rendering processors perform distortion correction, video processors perform general image processing, blending processors handle image composition, and display processors perform processing for displaying images on screens. The video processors are connected to each other via hierarchical buses.

Evaluation of prototypes of the video processing circuit block comprising these video processors, fabricated with a cutting-edge 16nm FinFET process, confirms truly industry-leading Full-HD 12-channel performance (approximately three times improvement compared to the existing Renesas devices using the 28nm process).

When performing the massive video processing required by Full-HD 12-channel video, data accesses to the memory are a major source of performance bottlenecks and power consumption. In addition, in automotive computing systems it is necessary to minimise the memory bandwidth consumed by video processing to avoid interfering with the cognitive processing performed by the CPU and GPU. It is essential not to inhibit the operation of driving safety support systems, which must maintain a high level of safety.

For this reason, image data stored in memory is compressed to reduce usage of memory bandwidth. By using both lossless compression, which does not alter the pixel values and results in larger silicon area, and lossy compression, which alters the pixel values and results in smaller silicon area, in a manner appropriate to the image processing characteristics, it is possible to reduce memory bandwidth by 50% in a typical video processing flow. In particular, to avoid an issue specific to DDR memory where the memory access efficiency drops when accessing smaller blocks of data, meaning that there is no effective reduction in memory bandwidth, caching is used for video decoding, which involves large numbers of accesses to small blocks of data. This makes it possible to increase the DDR memory access size and reduces the effective memory bandwidth by 70%. Evaluation of prototypes fabricated with a cutting-edge 16nm FinFET process confirms that this reduction in memory bandwidth results in a 20% drop in power consumption, proportional to the reduction in the volume of data transaction on the bus, resulting in truly industry-leading Full-HD 12-channel power consumption of 197mW (60% less than that of current Renesas devices using the 28nm process).

The newly developed video processing circuit block will realise automotive computing systems integrating vehicle information systems and driving safety support systems by enabling massive video processing without imposing any additional load on the CPU and GPU, with real-time performance, low power consumption and low delay. Renesas intends to incorporate the new video processing circuit block into its future automotive computing SoCs to contribute to a safer and more convenient driving experience.

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Fanless vehicle computing system features 6th Gen Intel Xeon processor

Vecow launches the ‘first’ fanless embedded system with 6th Gen Intel Xeon processor in the market, IVH-9000 series rugged vehicle computing system. The system features smart manageability, excellent mobile availability, 6 to 78V power input with 200V surge protection, ignition power control, intelligent circus protection and rugged reliability in harsh environments.

With Quad Core 6th Gen Intel Xeon/ Core engine (Skylake), fanless -25 to 70°C operating temperature, all-in-one integrated features, multiple I/O connection and user-friendly, Vecow IVH-9000 series fanless vehicle computing system is a suitable choice for Rolling Stock System, Intelligent Transportation System (ITS), high-performance Mobile DVR/NVR, Intelligent Surveillance, Fleet Management, Industry 4.0 and any IoT performance driven real-time vehicle computing applications.

Powered by Quad Core 6th Gen Intel Xeon/ Core processor (Skylake-H) running with advanced Intel CM236 chipset, dual channel DDR4 2133MHz up to 32GB memory, IVH-9000 delivers up to 26% CPU performance improved than former generations with max 80% lower CPU power consumption; Cutting-edge Intel HD Graphics P530 graphics engine supports DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.2 and OpenCL 2.0 API, onboard dual DisplayPort and DVI-D display interface support Ultra HD 4K resolution, IVH-9000 offers up to 22% improved graphics performance than the former generation; Multiple SATA III (6Gbps), USB 3.0 (5Gbps), PoE (1Gbps) LAN and wireless connections make high-speed data conveying possible. Vecow IVH-9000 series fanless vehicle computing system brings a new gen system and power productivity to conquer demanding workloads in mission critical real-time embedded computing applications.

18 Gigabit independent LAN ports with 16 IEEE 802.3at (25.5W/ 48V) PoE+ compliant, 4 COM RS-232/ 422/ 485, 4 external USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, 16 Isolated DIO, 4 Mini PCIe sockets, 4 Front-access 2.5” SSD/ HDD trays, 4 SIM card sockets (3 front-access, 1 internal) for 3G/ 4G/ LTE/ WiFi/ GPRS/ UMTS, Front-access CFast socket, 6 SATA III supports software RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 function, 16 GPIO, optional supports SUMIT and UPS, all-in-one and cable-less designs, configurable ignition power control, remote power switch, fanless -25 to 70°C operating temperature, EN 50155 and EN 50121-3-2 compliant, Vecow IVH-9000 integrates performance, user-friendly, secure protection functions, smart manageability, mobile availability and rugged reliability for performance driven embedded applications.

“It’s really a significant milestone for Vecow. IVH-9000 leads us to not only the latest 6th Gen Intel Skylake platform but also new gen enhanced CPU productivity, power efficiency and system performance.” said Thomas Su, Director, Embedded System & Platform Division, Vecow. “IVH-9000 integrates leading performance, compact integrated features, smart manageability, mobile availability, secure power protection and rugged reliability for performance driven real-time embedded applications.”

“I’m so proud to include this all new strong and powerful embedded engine, IVH-9000 series vehicle computing system, in our product family.” said Jay Hsiao, Sales Manager, Sales & Marketing Division, Vecow. “IVH-9000 is the first fanless embedded box PC powered by 6th Gen Intel Xeon processor in the market. It’s a perfect solution for mission critical real-time vehicle computing and any performance driven embedded applications in harsh environment. With IVH-9000, we’ve got excellent feedback and kept working on rolling stock projects in Europe and North America.”

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Automotive SoC supports the ISO 26262 ASIL B safety standard

2nd February 2016



Posted By : Nat Bowers

Renesas Electronics has announced the development of hardware fault detection and prediction technologies for functional safety in automotive computing systems. The company has also successfully developed a prototype of an automotive computing SoC fabricated in a 16nm FinFET process supporting the ISO 26262 ASIL B standard for automotive functional safety.

Recently, there have been extensive activities in developing self-driving systems for vehicles and it is expected that the autonomous-driving era will arrive by the year 2020. Created by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the ISO 26262 ‘Road vehicles – Functional safety’ standard defines the entire safety life cycle for electronics and/or software in safety-related systems in vehicles weighing less than 3,500kg. Included in this are specific recommendations for the mitigation of random hardware faults, including diagnostics and/or the specific implementation of hardware safety systems.

When an internal fault occurs during driving, the automotive computing system used in an autonomous vehicle must either stop the vehicle safely or continue driving safely. Therefore, while SoCs for automotive computing systems have larger scales and more complex functions than earlier SoCs to process at high speeds and in short time periods that the large amount of data sent to them from cameras and other sensors, they are required to have safety mechanisms.

One method for detecting random hardware faults that occur during runtime consists of stopping programme execution in the SoC itself and performing self-tests (runtime self-tests). This method is appropriate in large-scale circuits, since it can detect hardware faults without redundancy in the logic circuits. Furthermore, compared to software-only self-testing, the test time is reduced by using the Built-In Self-Test (BIST) hardware. However, executing runtime self-tests requires the stopping of the SoC’s ordinary functions and application programmes cannot be run during that period. Furthermore, as these chips become more functionally complex and larger scale, the test times become longer and this could result in shutting off functions required for self-driving operation for extended periods.

To resolve this issue, Renesas implemented BIST systems in the CPU and GPU function blocks, and an integrated controller for these BIST systems. Furthermore, Renesas developed functions that enable these runtime self-tests to be executed with test time slicing. This function makes it possible, for example, to support the requirement of audio processing that the processing may only be interrupted for less than 2ms. It does this by: executing the runtime self-test on one specific CPU in the CPU cluster, which consists of four CPUs, and continuing programme execution on the remaining three CPUs; and dividing the GPU self-test into multiple sections and executing those sections in a time-sliced manner.

Renesas has made it possible to achieve the expected criteria such as diagnostic coverage for the ISO 26262 ASIL B standard for functional safety even in complex, large-scale SoCs, by minimising the blackout periods that the SoC cannot be used due to test execution and also minimising that duration to shorter than the tolerance time for which safety function operation may be interrupted.

There are cases where momentary voltage droops occur due to the excessive activation of logic circuits in an SoC. These voltage droops become more conspicuous as the operating frequency of the logic circuits and the fluctuations in the activations of those circuits increase. Previously design applied methods that provided adequate voltage margins to handle the maximum voltage droops were used. However, the lower supply voltages resulting from the use of finer process rule and higher operating frequencies made it difficult to provide voltage margins in the design.

Renesas developed the following three systems to resolve this issue:

  • Ultrafast voltage sampling system – Renesas developed a high-speed voltage sampling system that combines a variable delay circuit whose transmission time changes with the voltage difference and a time-to-digital converter that converts the time difference with respect to a reference clock to a digital value. This voltage sampling system can operate at the same 2GHz as the fastest CPU clock.

  • Voltage droop prediction system – This system predicts the voltage droop four cycles in advance based on the voltage information acquired from the voltage sampling system. If this predicted voltage falls below a threshold value set in advance, it requests that the clock supply be stopped.

  • High-functionality clock control system This system combines a clock gating circuit and a clock divider circuit and immediately stops the clock supply after receiving the clock stop request to suppress voltage droop. The clock supply recovers gradually by increasing the frequency from a frequency lower than the frequency prior to stopping the clock supply to minimise voltage droops which can be caused by restarting the clock supply.

By combining these three systems, voltage droops that might occur can be detected in advance and hardware faults that could occur due to those voltage droops can be prevented.

Based on the hardware fault detection and prediction technologies, Renesas has developed an SoC for automotive computing systems that is fabricated in a 16nm FinFET process and that supports the ISO 26262 ASIL B standard for automotive functional safety. The SoC has a heterogeneous multi-core architecture with a total of nine CPUs of three types. It also includes a GPU that provides massive processing power.

Renesas intends to provide automotive computing system development platforms to lead the autonomous-driving era using these technologies and contribute to the realisation of safe, secure and environment-friendly vehicles.

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24V TVS diode safeguards automotive antennas from ESD

Engineered to protect automotive antennas from ESD, a single-line TVS (Transient Voltage Suppression) device has been released by Semtech. The RClamp2431TQ, part of Semtech’s AEC-Q100 protection platform, offers a unique combination of low-clamping ESD protection with an ultra-low capacitance rating, making it suited for safeguarding car antennas against the harsh electrical transient threats present in vehicles.

The ultra-low capacitance of the RClamp2431TQ enables it to operate on high bandwidth antennas without compromising the signal integrity of the RF link. With a 24V working voltage, this device is well-suited for safeguarding emerging applications like NFC antennas. The RClamp2431TQ offers transient protection for high-speed signal lines according to IEC 61000-4-2 (ESD), a 24V working voltage protection for one I/O line and low capacitance of 0.35pF line-to-line.

In addition to low-capacitance, RF links require a high working voltage TVS with sufficient low ESD clamping voltage performance. When compared to existing standard polymer devices, the RClamp2431TQ achieves as much as a 40% reduction in ESD peak clamping voltage.

Rick Hansen, Product Marketing Director, Protection Product Group, Semtech, commented: “The newest vehicles coming off today’s assembly lines are equipped with more advanced wireless communications antennas – from GPS to Bluetooth to V2V and NFC. The RClamp2431TQ provides significant clamping voltage advantages over traditional polymer-based devices while also presenting sufficiently low capacitance on the RF signal path. We are very pleased with the way the market has already adopted this RClamp2431TQ protection solution.”

Supplied in an ultra-small package size measuring 1.0×0.6mm, the RClamp2431TQ (order code: RClamp2431TQTCT) is available immediately in production quantities and is priced at $0.33 each in 10,000 unit quantities.

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