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Tech Trends for Automotive Electronics in 2019

Automotive Electronics

Semiconductors have enabled most of the recent innovations in automotive technology, including vision-based, enhanced graphics processing units (GPUs) and application processors, sensors, and DRAM and NAND flash. Electronics systems will represent up to 50% of the vehicle cost by 2030 spurring the complete Automotive industry.  The diagnostic capability will be a requirement for future electronic systems. Intelligent redundant systems have to be developed. Power semiconductors have to be smart. SoC and SiP will coexist. Automotive accounted for 9% of primary end markets last year for semiconductors, IC Insights estimates. This is a significant market in its own right, and it is growing quickly. The majority of chips produced still end up in communications or computers, but automotive several years ago was a small fraction of the overall chip market. The article revises on how it shaped in 2018 and what it has kept in 2019 to accelerate the semiconductor market.

Change in Design

The automotive chip market was all about actuators and low-end microcontrollers. There are advanced designs being developed for vehicles today at 10/7nm, with plans to push that to even lower-node manufacturing processes. Mary Ann White, director of marketing for Synopsys’ Design Group noted, “Failure rates need to be significantly lower than in the mobile space. “Cellular phone providers ask for less than 10%,” White said, “whereas ISO 26262 pretty much goes to 10 years, but we’re seeing customers now that want 15 to 20 years with less than 1 defective part per billion (1 DPPB). You’re okay if your cellular phone resets on you and turns on. You’re not going to get hurt. But imagine your car needing to reset. That’s not possible.”

“The new world is driven by the automotive megatrends, namely, autonomous and electrification. We’re seeing a move away from having 100 to 120 ECUs with a microcontroller toward these big domain controllers in the vehicle, which is a completely different challenge in terms of design. This means instead of looking at a relatively simple microcontroller chip, now with the AI chips and GPUs and ASICs to manage the massive compute and low power requirements, things are pulling in the opposite direction, said Andrew Macleod, director of automotive marketing at Mentor, A Siemens Business.”

Packaging! A Whole New Concept

Advanced packaging options can reduce the bottlenecks for the flow of data, speeding up response time for critical systems, particularly accident avoidance in autonomous and driver-assisted vehicles. Standardized packaging, such as chiplets, can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to bring automotive chips and features to market. Automotive OEMs have been struggling to reduce time to market for designs from as long as seven years to one or two years. Harsh environmental conditions and an almost constant assault of vibration, electromagnetic interference and thermal extremes make packaging critical to protect the chips.

48-Volt Charged!

 Major automobile companies are bouting on e-vehicles, with strong Govt. push e-vehicles and hybridization is certainly on a myriad road.  Hence, on the technology front for electrification of powertrain systems in reducing the fuel consumption and engine-out emissions in the next few decades. Compared to the pure electric and full hybrid concept, the 48-volt mild hybridisation and the accompanying 48-volt e-boosting concept, due to its superior cost to benefit performance, may become the mainstream for the next generation fuel reduction measures. The mild hybrid system can realise advanced stop-start, active and passive engine-off coasting, brake recuperation, boost assistance, e-creeping and torque vectoring functions and is thus deemed to give approximately 10-15% fuel consumption benefits in the NEDC driving cycle; and the e-boosting concept, due to its capability to further downsizing and down-speeding, allows the engine operating points to be shifted into a more efficient area. A strong synergy between the 48-volt mild hybridisation and the 48-volt e-boosting concept has been found after reviewing both technologies and the trends for developing such a combined electrical system are also discussed.  A forecast by IHS Markit, an industry analyst firm, said 10 percent of vehicles built around the world seven years from now would have 48-volt systems.

Disrupting Motor Control Technologies

Sophisticated motor control methods provide great flexibility, but can present designers with significant challenges. In fact, achieving stable operation through all corner cases of a vector control design can demand highly specialized knowledge and often leads to slips in tight development cycles.  The emergence of sensorless control methods has further opened the door for more cost-effective solutions, providing a maximum motor capability for engineers able to harness the power of advanced vector control methods.

V2X and V2G Technologies to Overrun Security

 V2X is based on Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC), which is a short- to medium-range wireless standard that permits very high data-transmission rates. It’s very close to Wi-Fi, and the maximum range is about 1,000 feet. V2X is said to handle the traffic-jam, even help you find parking.  Data security is one of the first concerns that come to mind with any new tech, and DSRC is no exception. Can V2X communications be able to overrun these snags, experts say, Yes it can critically change the security paradigm to secure environment.

Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies use peak load management as distributed storage devices which enable the usage of electric vehicles (EVs). The stored power can be utilized to feed the electrical system during periods of peak demand in homes and offices and in case of sudden surges in electrical load. V2G is an extremely relevant area because it creates the obvious need for cities to start thinking and planning now about how they will support a large-scale EV society.

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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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