Freescale Announces Distributed System Interface Chips for Airbags

As automotive airbag systems continue to grow more sophisticated and require more sensors for collision detection, automakers face pressures to reduce cost while enhancing passenger safety. Freescale Semiconductor is responding to this market need with next-generation safety bus interface devices designed to bring robust, high-speed communications for the growing number of collision sensors planned to be used in new vehicles.

Freescale’s MC33781 master interface device and MC33784 slave interface for remote sensing allow airbag manufacturers to add more collision sensors while reducing system cost and enhancing the system’s noise immunity. Both products are designed for airbag safety systems that use the widely adopted Distributed Systems Interface (DSI) standard to connect remotely placed pressure, acceleration, occupant and buckle sensors to the main airbag electronic control unit.

“With the move toward smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, the emphasis on safety features will continue to grow, and vehicle OEMs and their suppliers will increasingly adopt application-optimized standard protocols, such as DSI, to minimize the cost and complexity of implementing these enhanced systems,” said Chris Webber, vice president, global automotive practice, Strategy Analytics. “We predict there will be some two billion nodes per year connected in car electronic networks, across all applications, by 2014. As the leading automotive IC supplier, Freescale is well positioned to take advantage of this growth in automotive networking and to support the needs of designers of today’s and tomorrow’s airbag systems.”

The Distributed System Interface (DSI) protocol, the leading automotive safety bus, was pioneered by Freescale and TRW. The DSI protocol supports point-to-point, parallel and daisy chain networks. DSI has been adopted by the world’s leading manufacturers of supplemental restraint system (SRS) airbags, including TRW and DENSO Corporation. DSI-compliant products have been in production for many years.

“We have used DSI-based devices for numerous airbag modules, and the demand for these devices will continue to increase to meet growing requirements for safety and advanced airbag systems,” said Mitsuhiko Masegi, managing officer, DENSO Corporation. “We believe Freescale’s new products for airbag applications will satisfy market needs, as well as future airbag requirements for high performance and functionality. We expect Freescale, as the leader in automotive semiconductors, will continue to develop solutions that enable safer automobiles.”

A dozen automotive OEMs have included DSI-based systems in their vehicles. Designed in collaboration with a key airbag system customer, the new MC33781 and MC33784 devices incorporate the next-generation DSI Version 2.02 protocol.

“The DSI safety bus helps airbag manufacturers reduce costs and speed time to market through an open, stable and well adopted safety bus standard,” said Arman Naghavi, vice president and general manager of Freescale’s Analog and Mixed-Signal Products Division. “Our latest DSI-based products are designed to help reduce the vehicle maker’s cost of adding more sensors to the car’s airbag system, while offering exceptional EMI performance and fault tolerance.”

Manufactured on Freescale’s SMARTMOS® 8 technology, Freescale’s latest DSI interface products offer more channels at a lower cost per channel, an improved electromagnetic interference (EMI) signature and higher top-end bus speeds. The four-channel MC33781 master interface device can support data transfers at up to 200 kilobits per second. Each MC33784 slave device has two 10-bit analog inputs and three logic inputs or outputs.

The DSI devices’ differential operation is designed to reduce EMI, as well as support fault tolerance and detection of shorts in the system. Frequency spreading further reduces interference by spreading the energy across many frequencies, thereby reducing the energy in any single frequency.

Comprehensive silicon solutions for airbag systems
Freescale is a leading supplier of semiconductor products for airbag applications, including the main electronic control unit (ECU) to satellite airbag modules. The company’s offerings for airbag systems include 16-bit S12 and 32-bit Power Architecture[tm] microcontrollers (MCUs), pressure and acceleration sensors, and analog devices based on SMARTMOS technology. Freescale is well positioned to supply the critical semiconductor elements of next-generation airbag systems.

Integration of safety systems such as pre-crash detection and electronic stability program (ESP) sensor clusters into the airbag ECU continues to drive system complexity and increase the number of required sensors. Demand for airbag-related systems is driven by legislation, consumer influences and automotive growth in emerging markets. According to Strategy Analytics, by 2010 airbag electronic control unit demand will reach 66 million units; airbag satellite demand will reach 132 million units; and the total available market (TAM) for silicon used in airbag systems will grow to $1.14 billion (USD).

MC33781 master interface product features

  • Four independent differential DSI channels with a pseudo bus switch feature on channel 0
  • Data rate up to 200kbps full duplex per channel
  • Dual serial peripheral interface (SPI)
  • Enhanced bus fault performance
  • Automatic message cyclical redundancy checking (CRC) generation and checking for each channel
  • Enhanced register set with addressable buffer; enables queuing of four independent slave commands at one time for each channel
  • 8-bit to 16-bit messages with 0 to 8 bits of CRC
  • Independent frequency spreading for each channel
  • 32-Id SOICW exposed pad

MC33784 satellite sensor slave interface product features

  • Sensor interface
    • 2-channel, 10-bit analog-to-digital converter
    • Three pins configurable as logic inputs or outputs
    • Regulated 5V output
  • Bus interface
    • Single-ended or differential receiver
    • High- and low-side bus switches for improved common-mode noise rejection
    • 10MHz internal clock with dithering for improved EMI performance
    • DSI daisy chain device
  • Fault modes
    • Under-voltage detection

Pricing and availability
Samples of the MC33781 and MC33784 devices are available now to automotive customers. For product pricing, please contact local Freescale sales representatives.

Freescale: The leader in automotive semiconductors
Freescale is the world’s No. 1 supplier of automotive semiconductors, with more than 30 years of experience in the automotive industry. Freescale’s sensors, analog products and 8-, 16- and 32-bit MCU families provide intelligence and connectivity for advanced safety, body electronics, chassis, engine control, powertrain, driver information and telematics. Freescale is a pioneer in FlexRay[tm] technology and was the first supplier to integrate CAN, LIN and flash memory technologies on automotive MCUs.

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 2007 sales of $5.7 billion (USD).

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