Continuous advances in microelectronics are helping make electronic braking systems (EBS) more reliable, responsive and affordable for mainstream vehicles. To enable the next generation of EBS and chassis control systems, Freescale Semiconductor and Continental Automotive Systems’ EBS business unit in Frankfurt have joined forces to design a high-performance, multi-core microcontroller (MCU) optimized for EBS applications.
The two automotive industry leaders are collaborating on a custom MCU called SPACE that is designed to provide the processing intelligence for Continental’s next-generation EBS products. The SPACE device integrates three e200 cores based on Power Architecture(TM) technology, making it the industry’s first triple-core automotive MCU.
“The SPACE device is the most powerful, sophisticated automotive MCU in its class,” said Wolfgang Fey, director of electronic systems at Continental Automotive Systems. “Creating a device of such complexity has required close collaboration between Continental and Freescale engineering teams on all technology fronts – silicon design, software tools, simulation and modeling, and hardware platforms. We’re working in unison to develop what we think will be a breakthrough in multi-core technology for the automotive industry.”
Designed to double the performance of existing MCUs, the highly integrated SPACE device contains 3 MB of flash (one of the largest MCU-based flash arrays), 96 KB of SRAM, advanced FlexRay(TM) technology and Continental’s unique fail-safe technology, which fulfills all requirements for Safety Integrity Level 3 (SIL3) applications. The device’s exceptional multi-core performance makes it ideal for a wide range of fail-safe-critical applications in the performance-intensive chassis control market. The high level of integration also helps reduce system cost, power requirements, component count and board space.
“Developing a triple-core MCU based on Power Architecture technology with this level of integration and functionality redefines innovation,” said Mike McCourt, vice president and general manager of Freescale’s Microcontroller Division. “The resulting SPACE device has the potential to unleash unprecedented levels of performance for new generations of braking systems. The integration of FlexRay technology and planned AUTOSAR compliance also take this device to the leading edge of automotive networking and software technology.”
The joint design program to create the SPACE device has entailed a major investment in software and hardware tools, including low-level drivers (LLDs), development tools, evaluation boards and cycle-accurate simulation software for virtual prototyping at the system-level. The LLDs to be used with SPACE are planned to be compliant with the AUTOSAR standard.
The multi-core SPACE device, currently available in 130-nanometer process technology, is the first member of a comprehensive MCU family, with a roadmap to higher performance planned on 90-nanometer process technology.
The Continental Corporation is a leading automotive supplier of brake systems, chassis components, vehicle electronics, tires and technical elastomers. In 2006 the corporation realized sales of EUR14.9 billion. At present, it has a worldwide workforce of around 89,000. As a worldwide leading technology and systems partner to the automotive industry, the Automotive Systems Division of Continental AG integrates extensive know-how and uncompromising quality in the fields of active and passive driving safety, embedded telematics and hands-free communication systems, powertrain and comfort. In 2006 the Division achieved sales of approx. Euro 6 billion with a workforce of more than 30,000. Continental Automotive Systems develops and produces electronic and hydraulic brake, stability and chassis control systems, electronic air suspension systems, sensors, engine management and transmission control systems, hybrid drives, cooling fan modules, body and security electronics and also is the industry leader of embedded telematics and communication systems in vehicles.
About Freescale Semiconductor
Freescale Semiconductor is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial, networking and wireless markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations in more than 30 countries. Freescale is one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies with 2006 sales of $6.4 billion (USD).
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