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Continuous Investment in Emerging Automotive Connectivity Technologies

YAN GOHTechnology helps make our cars safer. The growing demand for improved vehicle safety is driving rapid innovation in active safety and ADAS among vehicle manufacturers. Niloy from BIS hops in with Yan Goh | Sr. Marketing Manager, Far East, Automotive Products Group | Microchip Technology Inc to understand how Microchip is fuelling into the ADAS market. In this candid interview, Yan shares about the evolving ADAS technology, Microchip’s expertise and how it is shaping the cars while driving e-mobility & V2X. Edited Nub Below.

  1. What are Microchip’s key offerings and which automotive application areas is the company’s major focus?

Microchip Technology has been supplying automotive semiconductor solutions for over 20 years. Our areas of expertise cover a wide range of products which include  8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit microcontroller solutions, touch controller solutions, in-vehicle networking solutions, high voltage analog-solutions, automotive security solutions and non-volatile memories. Our products are used in a broad spectrum of applications such as body controllers, smart actuators, switches, cluster-infotainment systems and electrical driving modules. With the explosion of autonomy and electrification in cars, this is one focus area for investments on technologies that are key enabler in this application segment.  

  1. Role of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) in achieving Vision Zero and drive functional safety for cars in the Indian market? 

The automotive market in India with respect to active safety is no different compared to other parts of the world. ADAS features are proven in making the car safer and road accident prevention, hence will be integrated into the India market towards the objective that it become a standard feature. 

  1. What are the challenges i.e.(network coverage, data security) you foresee in the growing connected cars segment and Microchip’s expertise and solutions to simplify these snags?

In a V2X system with connectivity to the cloud through 4G or 5G networks, security is the upmost important factor during system definition and design consideration. As we have seen from various examples where cars are being hacked while driving, it’s a matter of life and death. In order to simplify and address this critical security need, we have dedicated hardware security module (HSM) enabled microcontrollers and hardware security chips supporting features such as secure boot, node authentication and data encryption. 

  1. Electronics architecture that optimize on the costs while providing value to the customer is the need of the hour, Microchip’s expertise to bring value to their customers?

Total electronics cost aspects cover a wide range of variables. Semiconductor components supplied by Microchip Technology are just one of the many ingredients. From a semiconductor perspective, using the microcontroller as an example,  our new generation product packs far more advance functionality with high level integration of such peripherals as high precision ADCs, DACs converter and op-amps which allow electronic designers to reduce external BOMs in an effort to efficiently optimize cost. 

  1. Ways in which Automotive solutions are enabling Automotive OEMs to save component costs, development integration, and prototype time.

As described in the previous answer, our solutions enable Tier 1 clients with an optimized solution that will benefit the car OEMs down the line. Beyond cost savings from design attributes, Microchip Technology’s products are designed to operate in robust environments with the aim to achieve high reliability and to help suppliers achieve their targeted functional safety system rating. Looking long term, automotive OEMs will be able to reduce development costs with microcontroller architectures that support reuse of software and shorten time to market cycles. 

  1. How advanced touch screen controllers (HMI) are redefining capacitive touch systems in automotive designing and applications.

If we look at the car offerings today, capacitive touch enabled center display consoles are to become the norm. Microchip Technology has been a front runner in this technology and we are starting to offer our clients further differentiation paths such as supporting wide aspect ratio wide screen up to 40”, advance 3D gesture and knob on touch technology. On the other hand, Microchip’s microcontrollers have a built in capacitive touch button controller enabling Tier 1 clients to easily migrate any mechanical type button to a flush capacitive type without adding any chip components while increasing styling capabilities which appeal to the occupants of the vehicle. 

  1. Key Technology Solutions that will revolutionize the e-mobility evolution for India?

One of the key requirements for e-mobility is power efficiency. In simple words, “how do we get the maximum mileage from one full charge?” To achieve this objective, there have been huge steps taken by battery manufacturers to improve battery cell power density. On the other hand, electrical power modules are designed to achieve maximum efficiency by introducing better power conversion often utilizing a high switching frequency at a higher voltage through semiconductor solutions. Microchip Technology offers dedicated microcontrollers coupled with silicon carbide (SiC ) MOSFETs and diodes which are capable of reaching over a 90 percent efficiency rating.  

  1. Integrating security into existing automotive networks with minimal design impact – possibility and application? 

As explained earlier, Microchip Technology has been investing a lot in making security simple. For example, we have designed a dedicated hardware security solution which is plug in ready for existing automotive networks to achieve a secure CAN connection. By doing this, Tier 1 clients can achieve a secure CAN network with minimal engineering enhancements from existing solutions. 

  1. Methods to incorporate new functionality while minimizing impact to in-vehicle electronics?

For semiconductor manufacturers like Microchip Technology, we have the capability to integrate more functionality at the chip level. One example is a simple switch actuator box where previously, our clients would need to use over 4 to 5 different IC components to achieve the solution. Today, our latest microcontroller solutions are capable of performing the controlling, LIN connectivity, voltage regulation and various op-amps to ADC input signal conditioning all in one single package. This level of integration will minimize engineering effort while maximizing reliability due to less component count.

  1. Strategies that will result in a sustainable system which can adopt new connectivity technologies as they emerge?

Like the earlier question on new functionality, Microchip Technology continues to invest in emerging automotive connectivity technologies. Taking for example, automotive CAN, LIN and Ethernet product families, we have been offering these solutions since the specification was formalized. Early engagements with automotive OEMs and key Tier 1s during the product development cycle is critical for new connectivity technologies. This will ensure compatibility and compliance to the strict automotive standards which enable our customers to achieve a working solution as new connectivity technologies emerge. Microchip Technology remains committed to delivering networking solutions to address the needs of the automotive market.

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Niloy Banerjee

A generic movie-buff, passionate and professional with print journalism, serving editorial verticals on Technical and B2B segments, crude rover and writer on business happenings, spare time playing physical and digital forms of games; a love with philosophy is perennial as trying to archive pebbles from the ocean of literature. Lastly, a connoisseur in making and eating palatable cuisines.

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