Automotive engineers are the driving force behind the development of cost-effective, energy-efficient, safe, and robust subsystems for any vehicle in the market today. In this article, we’ll take a look at three components from different developers that are showcasing their latest next-gen technology aimed to enhance the driving experience.
Root of Trust Security Module from Rambus
Rambus has been supplying security IP with an extensive portfolio of semiconductors designed to alleviate data centers connectivity by improving memory and processing for the system. Rambus is taking its experience and portfolio to address automotive defenses by developing a fully-programmable, embedded hardware security module (HSM). Rambus has deemed their latest core module for system-on-chip (SoC) designs the Root of Trust RT-640, capable of maintaining the security of the entire vehicle to ensure safety levels.
The RT-640 module is composed of a custom 32-bit RISC-V processor, private memory, random bit generator, and cryptographic accelerators. These accelerators don’t necessarily mean they accept cryptocurrency as fuel but they do perform intense computations more efficiently than a general CPU. Cryptographic accelerators avoid the need for software programming and can perform operations at the hardware level. Critical operations such as key derivation and storage are able to be completed solely within the hardware.
Block diagram of Rambus’ RT-640. This device meets functional safety standards of ISO 26262 ASIL-B. Image used courtesy of Rambus
The importance behind increasing security is to protect the user. The driver not only needs airbags and ADAS but requires protection against cyberattacks to avoid any form of system malfunction or tampering. The RT-640 implements hardware and software safety mechanisms and is easy to integrate with industry-standard automotive interfaces, says the company. The RT-640 is able to execute tasks safely such as authenticated user functions, tamper detection, storage, and resistance to side-channel attacks.
Renesas Unveils the R-Car V4H SoC
Meanwhile, Renesas has expanded its portfolio by adding a new SoC for central processing in automated driving systems. Renesas’ R-Car V4H is a next-gen SoC to designed for the advanced driver-assistance (ADAS) market. The R-Car V4H provides deep learning performance at 34 Tera Operations Per Second (TOPS). This deep learning capability serves the needs of high-speed image recognition and processing of surrounding objects for cameras, radar, and lidar.
Renesas expects its R-Car V4h platform will establish the next fleet of software-defined vehicles. Image used courtesy of Renesas
System designers can use the R-Car V4H a single-chip ADAS electric control unit (ECUs). ECUs are microcontrollers used in within vehicles to control one or several electric subsystems. By integrating Renesas’ R-Car V4H, electrical designers have more design flexibility thanks to the platform having a pre-regulator and power management integrated circuit (PMIC). The pre-regulator allows for the R-Car V4H to access a vehicle’s 12 V battery to carry out low power operations such as fault detection for both the software and hardware level.
The R-Car V4H manages battery power charging, sleep modes, DC-to-DC conversion, and voltage regulation through the PMIC. The internal image signal processor (ISP) allows the R-Car V4H to perform parallel processing for machine and human vision. High-volume production of the device is set to begin throughout 2024.
ST Designs an Automotive Door-zone IC
STMicroelectronics (ST) has made an impact in the automotive industry by creating chips for ADAS, motor control, vehicle safety, and electromobility to push the overall powertrain forward efficiently as possible. ST has added to its automotive portfolio with the L99DZ200G door-zone system IC. This IC allows ST to enable a single-chip for the front-drives-rear setup that can control window, mirror, lighting, and rear-window lift. The overall powertrain system will be able to achieve low quiescent current, increased reliability, and shorter production time.
ST’s L99DZ200G features two H-bridge gate drivers, a gate driver for external mirror heating, a control block, a high-side driver for electrochromic mirror dimming, and five LED high-side drivers. The electrochromic mirror glass is easily controllable through an external MOSFET. Having a dual H-bridge arrangement gives the L99DZ200G control of two spindle motors simultaneously while still activating the low-side of both MOSFETs to protect the device if overvoltage is present.
ST’s new door-zone IC provides protection from internal failures is avoided through power management, temperature monitoring, thermal control, and overcurrent detection. Image used courtesy of STMicroelectronics
ST’s automotive door-zone IC can boost the power efficiency of the entire vehicle. A single packaged IC that holds LIN and HS CAN transceivers as communication layers. They give components a way to talk to one another without being programmed to do so. Having both transceivers gives designers the option to cut production time since the communication hierarchy can be for either protocol.
There are many design challenges in the automotive industry but there are some key hurdles that take center stage. Automotive EEs have to think about improving security, battery life, sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and driver-friendly controls. All that makes the development of new components—such as the ones from ST, Renesas, and Rambus—crucial for providing EEs design flexibility.
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