Analog Devices is massively focusing on EV/HEV, 48V and 12V Battery Management Systems, powertrain, cabin electronics and infotainment and power management. In this interview with Niloy from BIS, Srinivas Kantheti, Product Line Director, Automotive Technology Group, Analog Devices elaborates on how Analog Devices technologies are enabling customers to build cars that are safer, environmentally friendly while enjoying rich multimedia content. Edited nub below.
- The automotive industry in India is bigger than ever before, with electronics and semiconductors playing the lead role. ADI’s focus, offerings and innovations to foster this sector?
Analog Devices is at the forefront of creating smarter and greener solutions to improve the overall automotive user experience. We concentrate heavily on EV/HEV, 48V and 12V Battery Management Systems, powertrain, cabin electronics and infotainment, in addition to power management. Analog Devices technologies allow the customers to build cars that are safer, environmentally friendly while enjoying rich multimedia content.
We have industry-leading precision for battery monitoring in the EV/HEV powertrain Battery Management Systems (BMS). EVs come with perceived challenges with range and safety concerns and upfront battery costs. Precise measurements enhance the range of the vehicle for a given battery, improve safety and reduce cost (battery capacity for a given mileage). Our DSP and Automotive Audio Bus (A2B) technologies in cabin electronics and infotainment allow advanced audio and voice applications to be developed and experienced while saving weight and expense. They enable users to experience a high-quality audio experience in their home theatres by cancelling road noise and enhancing the audio within the vehicle. Also, we are a leader in 12V Start-Stop Battery Management Solutions to improve the mileage of traditional ICE vehicles. ADI also has solutions in MEMs, crash sensors and other technologies needed for an automobile.
One of our recent innovations that is path-breaking is the WBMS (Wireless Battery Management Systems). Batteries are cells assembled into modules and arranged as packs to meet the high-power requirement of EV automotive power train systems. These modules are organized in multiple topologies and a robust communication framework is needed within the high electromagnetic interference (EMI) environment of an EV/HEV. The traditional approach has been to daisy chain the batteries to read the measurements using CAN / isoSPI interface. Instead of these two, each module is interconnected through a wireless link in a wireless BMS device.
Wireless BMS represents a major advancement for large multicell battery stacks for electric and hybrid/electric vehicles that offer the potential for better reliability, lower cost and reduced wiring complexity.
- The technology trends expected earlier in 2020 had not been as reckoned due to the pandemic, though newer trends and sectors, specifically digital-driven and empowerment of technology, created sustainability and helped during the pandemic. According to you, this year (2021), what are the key trends you foresee that will drive the semiconductor business?
Key trends that will drive the semiconductor business apart from the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence include:
- Connectivity: 5G will be the fourth technological revolution, powered by the integration of digital and physical technology, such as digital connectivity, cloud and edge computing, IoT and smart devices, AI, robotics, Blockchain and AR/VR. 5G will improve the autonomous car adoption rates.
- Sensors: While the quality of our images will improve with more pixels and cameras, smart sensors enable us to choose the best shots as well. Other sensors are also catching up to replicate human capabilities beyond image sensors. For example, sensors in the future cars will monitor the health of the patient, driver drowsiness and can warn of a serious situation well in advance.
- Data: Storage technologies have grown from core storage to a hybrid multi-cloud infrastructure with big data on the rise.
- Artificial Intelligence: It will be crucial in moving from cloud-based AI to edge-based AI to allow decision-making in real-time. It is particularly important in autonomous mobility.
- With the digital transition of businesses, semiconductors are playing a significant role. A macroeconomic pattern post-COVID normalization is a tailwind for semiconductors exposed to much more cyclical automotive and industrial sectors.
These are all in addition to the automotive semiconductors that are driving greener, smarter and intelligent cars.
- Creating newer ecosystems through collaborations and driving consolidated innovations seems pivotal. What are ADI’s strategies that will drive newer business models for growth in this new environment?
The global automotive industry is undergoing a paradigm shift where safety, energy efficiency, and environmental sustainability have emerged as the key themes.
Analog Devices works with partners and customers to deliver pathbreaking solutions, thereby enabling them to be in the driver seat for specific segments. At the heart of it, the company follows an ethos of developing tech-first solutions. Analog Devices has been innovating and developing grounds-up solutions in the space of WBMS, autonomous driving and cabin electronics, to name a few.
For example, in the communications space, Analog Devices has partnered with Intel Corporation to develop a scalable radio infrastructure to meet the demands of 5G network growth and help clients scale 5G networks faster and cheaper. In the automotive space, we have been partnering with several Tier-1 customers to develop advanced technologies around Automotive Road Noise cancellation systems, spawning multiple technologies like processing, connectivity etc.
- What are the key innovations of ADI for a connected automotive future?
We transition from independent, manually driven and fossil-fuel vehicles to interconnected, electrified vehicles that are fueled by a range of renewable energies. It is a development that is sustainable for this planet. It gives us a tremendous opportunity to make vehicles more capable and robust through our strengths, expertise and record in the automotive industry.
The electrification of the car encourages a revolution in battery technology. Electrification is now at the forefront of many innovations in automobile safety. Analog Devices products offer the highest level of functional safety standard with features within the IC that check the IC itself. They can also sense a potential battery fire and alert the user well in advance, thus protecting the user’s life and saving the valuable vehicle from the fire.
- Please outline the scope and challenges for EVs, HEVs and connected automotive technologies in India. What are the scope and challenges?
- The future of electric vehicles remains bright. Rising fuel prices and pollution are sufficient reasons to drive EV adoption by consumers in India. However, EV adoption is reliant on creativity and public incentives. The government must concurrently fight the slowdown and invest in technologies for the future.
- While government incentives are not lacking in India, some of the challenges that persist for EVs and HEVs are:
– Shortage of infrastructure charging amenities
– Reliance on imported batteries and imported parts for the products leading to higher cost of EVs/HEVs. Developing core technologies for battery manufacturing is a key need of the hour for the country.
– Lack of high-performance EV options
– Shortage of solutions for quality maintenance and repair
– The slowdown in the wider automotive sector due to COVID impact