Archive for May, 2015

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New family of low-power and highly robust high-speed CAN transceivers

Friday, May 29th, 2015
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Microchip Technology introduces new family of low-power and highly robust high-speed CAN transceivers

Contact Information

Microchip Technology Inc.

2355 W. Chandler Blvd.
Chandler, AZ, 85224
USA

tele: 480.792.7200
toll-free: 888.MCU.MCHP
fax: 480.792.7277
here2help@microchip.com
www.microchip.com

Innodisk Showcasing Internet of Vehicles at Computex 2015

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

World’s First DDR4 2400MHz Server RAM and 4TB Industrial SSDs to be Displayed Alongside Connected Car Demo

Innodisk, the service-driven flash provider, will be demoing the Internet of Vehicles from June 2nd to 6th, at Computex 2015 in Taipei, along with its diverse array of flash storage, DRAM for embedded and server applications, industrial flash management software, and embedded peripheral modules.

Innodisk invites all its customers and business partners to visit its booth M1213a at Nangang Exhibition Hall 4F.

IoV Solutions
In-vehicle surveillance, on-board entertainment, and live vehicle tracking with GPS are just some of the benefits of the Internet of Vehicles. With a connected bus demonstration, Innodisk will display Internet of Vehicle enabled fleet management involving an NVR-capable onboard computer connected to a secure, centralized vehicle network server. Made possible by rugged, automotive class Innodisk SSDs and DRAM, the Internet of Vehicles demonstration will show the possibilities of the IoT.

Flash
Innodisk will exhibt its diverse flash solutions including its latest DRAM-less 3ME3 series, and industrial grade high performance SSDs with capacities up to 4TB. The 3ME3 Series from Innodisk features a DRAM-less design meaning high data integrity combined with new flash management firmware for high performance and reliability in a small form factor. Innodisk’s 3MG2-P industrial SSDs with 80/76K Random IOPS now come in capacities up to 4TB. Storage reliability and performance come together with high capacity for the most demanding industrial applications.

DRAM
Besides its reliable industrial flash storage, Innodisk will showcase the world’s fastest DDR4 Server memory suitable for cloud computing, database and HPC applications. Innodisk’s 2400Mhz DDR4 32GB Registered DIMMs are the first in its class and represent the capability of Innodisks’s server and embedded memory portfolio. Innodisks’ high capacity, high performance DDR3 SODIMM, UDIMM and ECC UDIMM in 1600MHz and 16GB will be also demonstrated on an A88XM-E35 platform.

Embedded Peripheral Modules
Innodisk’s mPCIe /M.2Embedded Peripheral modules will be showcased during the show. These miniature expansion cards allow easy modification of embedded system functionality through an mPCIE or M.2 slot. SATA RAID modules for embedded system, embedded graphic card for digital signage, and CAN bus expansion cards for Car applications are some of the examples of how Innodisk make micro-expansion easier for solution providers.

Industrial Flash Management
Innodisk will be showcasing its iSMART flash monitoring and management tool as well as its new iCover flash backup and recovery software. iSMART is an SSD monitoring tool that allows users to check SSD health and performance information at a glance. iCover is a flash backup and recovery tool designed for industrial PCs and compatible with all x86 devices with Windows kernel, including Windows Embedded operating systems. iSMART and iCover are a complete Industrial Flash management suite from Innodisk helping users maximize SSD reliability, service life and performance.


About Innodisk

Innodisk (5289: Taiwan) is a service driven provider of flash memory and DRAM products for the industrial and enterprise applications. With satisfied customers across the embedded, aerospace and defense, cloud storage markets and more, we have set ourselves apart with a commitment to dependable products and unparalleled service. This has resulted in products including embedded peripherals designed to supplement existing industrial solutions and high IOPS flash arrays for industrial and enterprise applications. The expanded business lines are leading our next step in being a comprehensive solution and service provider in industrial storage industry.

Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan with engineering support and sales teams in China, Europe, Japan, and the United States, Innodisk is able to support clients globally. With abundant experience and an unrivaled knowledge of the memory industry, Innodisk develops products with excellent quality, remarkable performance, great cost-efficiency, and the highest reliability. For more information about Innodisk, please visit http://www.innodisk.com/.

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Volvo Cars Upgrade to Microchip’s MOST150 Devices for Ethernet Packet Transport in All-New Volvo XC90 Model’s Infotainment Network

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

MOST150 Standard Carries Ethernet Packets According to IEEE 802.3 Spec, Providing the Only Proven, Automotive-Ready In-Car Ethernet Physical Layer

Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP), a leading provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP solutions, today announced that the Volvo Car Group smoothly migrated from MOST25 to the latest MOST150 standard in its all-new Volvo XC90 model, using Microchip’s OS81110 Intelligent Network Interface Controllers (INICs). After many years of using Microchip’s MOST25 INICs, Volvo Cars needed to enable its latest infotainment systems with the ability to carry Ethernet packets. MOST150 was a natural choice because, in addition to all of its other features, it is the first and only standard to provide a proven, automotive-ready physical layer for Ethernet packet transport inside cars. And it does so in accordance with the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet specifications.

To learn more about Microchip’s MOST® networking products, visit http://www.microchip.com/MOST-052615a.

To date, more than 170 million MOST interface controllers have been installed in 184 car models since 2001. Volvo Cars and all major carmakers have for many years successfully implemented MOST technology in their multi-node infotainment networking systems, as it provides a field-proven, low-risk, whole-system solution. The MOST150 standard meets Volvo Cars’ connectivity and bandwidth demands. This latest version of MOST technology continues to predictably and efficiently transport video, audio, packet and control data throughout the vehicle without time-synchronization protocols, using dedicated channels for minimal processor overhead in the main infotainment control unit processors.

“We are pleased to welcome Volvo Cars as the fourth carmaker to adopt MOST150 technology as its high-speed infotainment network,” said Dan Termer, Microchip’s Automotive vice president. “This is another example of an OEM migrating to MOST150. Their experience with the MOST technology standards and their expanding needs led them to select MOST150 for their new and future car models.”

MOST150 also provides 150 Mbps performance and proven electromagnetic-compatibility (EMC) behavior. This EMC performance is particularly good when combined with the optical physical layer that is utilized in the all-new Volvo XC90 model. All MOST INICs offer industry-standard hardware interfaces to processor and peripheral devices for the efficient routing of streaming, packet and control data, which greatly simplifies module designs. End users can immediately access the vehicle’s infotainment system, due to the MOST INIC’s ultra-fast network startup behavior.

The MOST Cooperation standards enable automotive OEMs and their Tier 1 suppliers with a proven and well-supported methodology for defining and implementing high-bandwidth infotainment and Advanced Driver Assistance (ADAS) systems, including a standard physical layer and a robust method for system management and control with superior reliability and Quality of Service (QoS). Using MOST technology also results in reduced weight for easier compliance with environmental regulations.


About Microchip Technology

Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP) is a leading provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP solutions, providing low-risk product development, lower total system cost and faster time to market for thousands of diverse customer applications worldwide. Headquartered in Chandler, Arizona, Microchip offers outstanding technical support along with dependable delivery and quality. For more information, visit the Microchip website at http://www.microchip.com/Homepage-052615a.

Contact Information

Microchip Technology Inc.

2355 W. Chandler Blvd.
Chandler, AZ, 85224
USA

tele: 480.792.7200
toll-free: 888.MCU.MCHP
fax: 480.792.7277
here2help@microchip.com
www.microchip.com

Daimler and Qualcomm partnership drives automotive wireless charging market By David Green, Wireless Charging, IHS Technology

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Key Points

  • IHS estimates that 57 thousand wireless-charging equipped vehicles were sold globally in 2014, but forecasts this will exceed 17.5 million vehicles in 2020.
  • Five of the top ten automotive manufacturers (Toyota, Volkswagen, Ford, Chevrolet and Mercedes-Benz ) globally have started fitting, or announced plans to start fitting, wireless charging technology into their vehicle range.
  • In the short-term, manufacturers are adopting in-cabin wireless charging pads to allow end-customers to charge consumer devices, such as their mobile phones.
  • Wireless charging of electric vehicle batteries is being investigated by some manufacturers, although this is unlikely to see an OEM launch until at least 2017.

IHS Analysis

This latest announcement from Qualcomm and Daimler means that all of the top three automotive manufacturers globally (Toyota, Volkswagen and Ford) and a further two from the top ten (Chevrolet and Mercedes-Benz) have shown intent towards wireless charging technology in the past few months.

We estimate that 57 thousand wireless-charging equipped vehicles were sold globally in 2014, but forecast this will exceed 17.5 million vehicles in 2020.

Market penetration of vehicle features follows a typical adoption curve in the automotive market, starting with optional or standard fitment on high-end models and grades before filtering down across a brand’s model range as each new generation is released. However, it’s interesting to see that both volume selling brands such as Toyota and Ford are pursuing this technology at the same time as more premium brands such as Daimler/Mercedes-Benz.

With 2015 proving to be a breakthrough year for wireless charging, this latest partnership between Daimler and Qualcomm provides yet more consumer and media attention for the emerging technology. There’s been a great deal of attention for both receiver applications, such as mobile phones, and for transmitter applications, such as in-cabin charging and wireless charging furniture. The entire ecosystem is receiving investment which is important for providing the end-consumer with the best overall experience of wireless charging technology.

Background

Qualcomm Technologies Inc and Daimler AG announced a strategic collaboration on Saturday 23rd May to develop wireless charging technology for automotive applications. This includes both in-car charging for consumer devices using Qualcomm WiPower technology, and the possibilities of wireless electric vehicle charging using the Qualcomm Halo WEVC technology solution. No timeline has yet been given for any likely introduction of either technology into the Daimler vehicle line-up. The other manufacturers pursuing wireless charging technology, referenced above, are summarised below:

  • Toyota first offered in-cabin charging on the 2013 Avalon, but announced in February 2015 that the Camry Special Edition would be equipped with a Qi-standard charging pad as standard. The Camry was the top selling vehicle in the United States during 2014.
  • Volkswagen Audi Group are most likely to introduce any wireless charging technology into the Audi model range first – with strong rumours that the Audi Q7 e-tron will be released in 2017 featuring wireless induction charging.
  • As IHS discussed last week, Ford hinted that in-cabin wireless charging will be coming soon during an interview with Forbes.com.
  • Under the General Motors group, both Chevrolet and Cadillac already offer in-cabin charging across a range of vehicles, including the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu and 2015 Cadillac AT sport sedan.

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Daimler and Qualcomm announce strategic collaboration on Connected Car Technologies

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015

Today, Daimler AG (DAI) and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) announced a strategic collaboration focused on pioneering innovation in the connected car. In the first phase of the collaboration, the companies will focus on transforming future vehicles with mobile technologies that enhance in-car experiences and vehicle performance such as 3G/4G connectivity, wireless charging technology for in-vehicle use and implementation of the Qualcomm Halo™ Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) technology. In addition, the companies are jointly assessing the application of Qualcomm Technology’s newly developed Automotive Solutions.

Qualcomm Technologies is collaborating with Daimler on its Wireless Power Transfer 2.0 high performance program for electric vehicles. The Qualcomm Halo WEVC technology provides high performance and high power in a small vehicle package that could allow Mercedes customers to charge their electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrid EVs without ever having to plug them in. In addition, WiPower technology enables consumer electronics to charge wirelessly in-vehicle.

“It’s important that we remain on the cutting edge of technology and continue to deliver unparalleled experiences to our customers,” says Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “With this in mind, we are eager to jointly explore possible fields of future cooperation with an internationally leading tech-firm like Qualcomm.”

Qualcomm is helping the automotive industry create an entirely new landscape for communication, convenience, energy efficiency, infotainment and safety through its Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Automotive Solutions, while Daimler has a history of producing vehicles that embody these concepts. Mercedes-Benz customers have come to expect vehicles equipped with numerous intelligent systems and sensors that enhance safety, convenience and comfort. Together, the companies intend to combine automotive expertise to advance the connected car industry by delivering intelligently connected vehicles of the future that drive emission-free.

“Our work with Daimler AG is a natural extension of the sponsorship we have with the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One team as our work in motorsports cultivates the innovation and advancements seen in the auto space,” said Derek Aberle, president of Qualcomm Incorporated. “The automobile has become an extension of always-on connectivity, and as such, we’re continuously utilizing our expertise in wireless mobility to deliver in-car experiences comparable to the ease and convenience of smartphones.”

Contact Information

STMicroelectronics First Past the Post with Automotive-Grade 1200V Thyristor for Ultra-Reliable Power Control

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

ST’s TN5050H-12WY is the world’s first high-power Silicon-Controlled Rectifier Thyristor to offer 1200V blocking voltage combined with automotive-grade production quality. With a current capability up to 80A[1] and an operating temperature range up to 150°C, the new device leverages both ST’s long-term leadership in discrete power devices and meeting the demanding requirements of the automotive semiconductor market.

The TN5050H-12WY is ideal for a wide range of AC/DC converter applications, including EV (Electric Vehicle) and other battery chargers, solar and wind renewable energy inverters, solid-state relays, Uninterruptible Power Supplies, and industrial welding systems. The device reduces the bill of materials by offering superior surge-current handling, thermal-cooling capability, and overvoltage robustness, while uniquely enhancing reliability, quality, and supply service with the AEC-Q101 compliance and the automotive PPAP (Production Part Approval Process) certification.

This allows designers to achieve the same levels of power and cooling efficiency as they could with traditional diode bridges, and with lower cost and smaller PCB footprint.

Key technical features of the TN5050H-12WY include:

  • Superior surge-current handling (up to 580A over the first 10ms);
  • High surge-voltage robustness – the device can withstand maximum surge- peak forward and reverse-blocking voltages as high as 1300V;
  • Excellent thermal-cooling capability, with junction-to-case thermal resistance of just 0.3 °C/W at a junction temperature of 150°C;
  • Low on-state voltage drop of 1.55 V(maximum voltage)@ 100A (Tj=25 °C);
  • Low off-state power consumption of 5µA max @1200V (Tj=25 °C);
  • A high PCB creepage distance of more than 4mm, which greatly simplifies PCB layout in the application.

The TN5050H-12WY thyristor is available in volume production at a price of $USD 4.73 for a volume of 5 units.

ST’s automotive-grade thyristor will be shown at the PCIM trade show (Booth 551/Hall 9) in Nuremberg, Germany, on May 19-21 2015.

For further information please visit www.st.com/nb-tn5050h-12wy

Contact Information

STMicroelectronics

39, Chemin du Champ des Filles
C. P. 21 CH 1228 Plan-Les-Ouates
GENEVA ,
Switzerland

toll-free: +41 22 929 29 29
fax: +41 22 929 29 88

Automotive 2A, 70V SEPIC/Boost/ Converter with 9µA Quiescent Current Includes Power-On Reset & Watchdog Timer

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Linear Technology Corporation announces the LT8495, a current mode, fixed frequency SEPIC/boost DC/DC converter with an internal 2A, 70V switch. Ultralow quiescent current of only 9µA makes it ideal for always on automotive systems, and its integrated power-on reset (POR) and watchdog timer offer enhanced system reliability required in automotive and industrial applications. The LT8495 starts up from an input voltage range of 2.5V to 32V, and once running, it operates from inputs of 1V to 60V, making it suitable for applications with input sources ranging from a single-cell Li-Ion to automotive inputs. The LT8495 can be configured as either a boost, SEPIC or flyback converter. Its switching frequency is programmable via a single resistor between 250kHz and 1.5MHz, minimizing external component sizes. The combination of a thermally enhanced TSSOP-20E package and tiny externals ensures a very compact footprint while reducing solution cost.

The LT8495’s internal, high efficiency 2A switch delivers efficiencies of up to 83% while operating in a SEPIC configuration. A unique design using dual supply pins (VIN and BIAS) enables the device to operate from the most efficient supply, optimizing efficiency over a wide range of conditions. The LT8495 can operate with input supply voltages up to 60V for SEPIC topologies and up to 32V, with ride-through protection in boost and flyback topologies. The reset and watchdog timeout periods are independently adjustable using external capacitors. Other features include an FMEA tolerant package, programmable soft-start and thermal shutdown protection.

The LT8495 is available in a thermally enhanced TSSOP-20 package, priced starting at $2.95 each for 1,000 piece quantities. Industrial temperature (-40°C to 125°C) versions are also available. Both versions are in stock. For more information, go www.linear.com/product/LT8495

Summary of Features: LT8495

  • Wide Input Voltage Range of ∼1V to 60V (2.5V to 32V for Start-Up)
  • Low Ripple Burst Mode® Operation
    • 9µA IQ at 12VIN to 5.0VOUT
    • Output Ripple (<10mV Typ)
  • Dual Supply Pins:
    • Improves Efficiency
    • Reduces Minimum Supply Voltage to ∼1V after Start-Up to Extend Battery Life
  • Integrated 2A/70V Power Switch
  • Programmable Watchdog Timer Can Operate When VIN Supply Is Removed
  • Programmable Power-On Reset Timer (POR) with RST Functional for Input Supply Down to 1.3V
  • FMEA Fault Tolerant in TSSOP Package
  • Fixed Frequency PWM, SEPIC/BOOST/FLYBACK Topologies
  • Programmable Switching Frequency:
  • 250kHz to 1.5MHz

  • UVLO Programmable on SWEN and RSTIN Pins
  • Soft-Start Programmable with One Capacitor
  • 20-Lead TSSOP Package

The USA list pricing shown is for budgetary use only. International prices may differ due to local duties, taxes, fees and exchange rates.


About Linear Technology

Linear Technology Corporation, a member of the S&P 500, has been designing, manufacturing and marketing a broad line of high performance analog integrated circuits for major companies worldwide for over three decades. The Company’s products provide an essential bridge between our analog world and the digital electronics in communications, networking, industrial, automotive, computer, medical, instrumentation, consumer, and military and aerospace systems. Linear Technology produces power management, data conversion, signal conditioning, RF and interface ICs, µModule® subsystems, and wireless sensor network products. For more information, visit www.linear.com.

Contact Information

Linear Technology

1630 McCarthy Blvd.
Milpitas, CA, 95035
USA

tele: 408-432-1900
http://www.linear.com

Proprietary “Standards” Feel Way Too Controlling

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015


If “software wants to be free”, hardware engineers also want “free” choice to select non-proprietary standards.

I stood in line today for the fifth time in several weeks buying yet another new Apple Lightning cable to replace all of the previous gen (30-pin) iPhone cables—and I cursed Apple and their proprietary lock on the $700 iPhone 6 I didn’t get subsidized from AT&T. Few consumers will realize any of the technical benefits of Apple’s smaller connector since charging the phone is about 98 percent of how most people use the cable.

Yet I’m paying $15 to $30 retail (depending on the store) every time I replace the now-obsolete older iPhone 4s cable in my backpack/briefcase/nightstand/glove box/office. The cables are expensive and are just another way for Apple’s proprietary “standard” to control my life and my wallet. (Note: Apple’s MFi Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad “standard” embedded in the cable assures royalty license fees for Apple; however, the industry-standard USB 3.0 Type-C connector is similar to Lightning yet offers nearly 5x the speed and myriad other communications protocols with headroom.)

A similar proprietary feel surrounds the FM radio receiver built into iPhones and many other handset cellular radio ICs—yet few handset manufacturers or carriers enable the FM radio on the phone that you own (in the US, Sprint is the exception). There’s a concerted radio advertisement push lately by FM broadcasters to get the cellular carriers like Verizon and AT&T (and handset manufacturers like Apple) to enable that built-in receiver.

Perhaps to remain relevant in an era of digital streaming, broadcasters are pushing a new app for iOS and Android called NextRadio that builds a nice GUI on your device to tune in and interact with free, local, old-fashioned over-the-air FM transmissions. The carriers, it is assumed, would rather block the free capability and force users to burn data plan megabytes (and battery) instead of enabling the equivalent of the 1970s vintage transistor radio.

Gosh, I hate being told what to do—especially when it comes to technology.

In the embedded space, and particularly with small form factor boards, our industry is rife with “open standards” that only the originating OEM supports. When I spot one of these my questions are always the same:

  1. Who else makes boards that conform to and interoperate with your “standard”?
  2. Do you, or will you allow your competitors access to your specs—freely!—so they can build boards and probably compete against you?

The answer is invariably the same: “No one else makes this ‘standard’ except for us, but we would consider it given the right opportunity.” I’m sure this is what they tell their customers to justify design-ins. Shame on the customer for never demanding free access to the specs and the right to take them to another vendor.

These are examples of why the openness of standards organizations is so beneficial to the embedded industry. We’ve got myriad standards groups that foster “co-opetition” (cooperative-competition between competing vendors) that ultimately create a bigger market for a standard by enabling competition and innovative thinking.

Recent groups that come to mind with soon-to-be ubiquitous standards are: USB-IF (USB 3.0 Type-C), IEEE (40G Ethernet), SGET (SMARC small form factor), VITA (VPX and VNX small form factors), Open Data Plane.org (ODP for server virtualization and SDN), PC/104 Consortium (PCIe-104 OneBank), PCI-SIG (PCI Express), and the Linux Foundation (Linux). This is by no means an exhaustive list, but news about these cross my desk almost daily.

Note that despite their runaway success and widespread adoption, I didn’t mention Android or iOS because they are both proprietary and controlled by Google and Apple, respectively.

In the embedded industry, proprietary “standards” like these may well win a market—but users may hate a standard until something more “open” (and often free) comes along. We can thank Richard Stallman for allegedly catalyzing us to think about free software—but on the hardware side, most embedded developers would prefer to use non-proprietary standards.

Editor’s note: As iOS and Android find their way into automotive IVI head units because of consumer demand, it’ll be interesting to watch how the inherently proprietary automotive industry deals with these two very proprietary “standards”.


ciufo_chrisChris A. Ciufo is editor-in-chief for embedded content at Extension Media, which includes the EECatalog print and digital publications and website, Embedded Intel® Solutions, and other related blogs and embedded channels. He has 29 years of embedded technology experience, and has degrees in electrical engineering, and in materials science, emphasizing solid state physics. He can be reached at cciufo@extensionmedia.com.

Evaluating Automotive Infotainment Networking Technologies

Monday, May 18th, 2015


Often cast as antagonists, the Ethernet and MOST technologies actually complement each other.

Back in November 2013, I participated in an EECatalog roundtable titled Automotive Ethernet: No Simple Answers. While the world has moved forward since then, many of the points made still remain today. The easier answer to the question of selecting the best technology for automotive networking is not found just through Ethernet, by itself, but rather flows from the selection of the best technology for the given task. Wi-Fi and LTE cellular communications are becoming more widespread and provide the best route to talk to a world in motion. Inside the vehicle, increasing amounts of information need to be moved between different domains. Information and entertainment data also needs to be presented to the driver and passengers through the car’s displays and speakers. Ethernet and MOST® technology both run at hundreds of megabits per second, and are both appropriate for moving large amounts of information in the vehicle. Ethernet is the best solution to connect to the IT infrastructure, when the vehicle is parked or when communicating between disparate domains. MOST technology is more appropriate for continuously flowing data streams, such as audio or video connections.

Ethernet and MOST technology are the two highest-speed networks being implemented in the automotive industry. While they are often portrayed as adversaries, it turns out they can actually coexist and be deployed to carry out the tasks that they are best suited for.

This article will examine the use cases for Ethernet and MOST technology, evaluating where each is best for automotive designs.

Linking Different Domains

Within the vehicle, packet-based IP communication continues to be established as the preferred way to interconnect different domains. Higher-level protocols used for this type of communication are finding their way into various vehicle applications. Formerly proprietary solutions are being standardized through the IEEE. These standards should be finalized within the year. The standard for a single, twisted-pair 100 Mbps network is essentially a repackaging of the Broadcom BroadR-Reach technology that other semiconductor companies will be able to license to develop their own ICs. It is now called 100BASE-T1, similar to the 100BASE-TX standard used for the more typical Ethernet applications seen in homes and offices. The T1 refers to a single, twisted-pair cable. The 1 Gbps technology is now called 1000BASE-T1. Interaction between typically independent systems, such as body and engine control, will benefit from a standardized communication network. MOST technology also includes a dedicated Ethernet Packet channel.

High-speed automotive networking is definitely converging to systems that are best suited for specific applications. The standard Ethernet physical layer (100BASE-TX) is being implemented in the OBD-II connectors of an increasing number of brands. It enables the car to quickly connect to the IT infrastructure of a vehicle service facility. Mechanisms intended for an unreliable communication link greatly benefit from how the vehicle talks to the outside world, whether through a wireless infrastructure or through a wired Ethernet connection. 100BASE-T1 is being considered by many carmakers for the vehicle backbone that connects various domains together, when information needs to flow from one domain to another. For example, it might be necessary to send engine information to another domain, such as the telecommunications domain, so that it can be transmitted to the factory or a traffic control center. 100BASE-T1 promises communication over a single twisted pair of wires with much better EMC performance and weight/volume characteristics than what is possible using more standard CAT5 cabling.

Today, there is one vehicle that has implemented a camera network using Ethernet, and several include Ethernet in the OBD-II diagnostic connector, with the diagnostic interface going into more vehicles over time. Other vehicle applications are in the works. AVB (now called TSN for Time Sensitive Networking, essentially AVB version 2) is used for professional audio applications and may be used for in-vehicle applications where timing is important, such as audio and video streams. However, since the car is a closed environment, it may be enough to just use the IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol (PTP) to distribute clocks, without having to go through all the extra mechanisms of the standards collectively labeled TSN. Different carmakers have varying opinions on just how much (if any) of AVB will be required.

Ethernet and MOST Can Coexist

Another system called MOST (for Media Oriented Systems Transport—see www.mostcooperation.com) continues to grow in the marketplace. There are now more than 180 vehicle models on the road, employing over 150 million MOST devices. This technology is best suited for moving continuously flowing streams of information inside the vehicle. It reduces the processing load required of various processors, as it automatically routes information to appropriate interfaces, instead of expecting the host processor to examine every packet and break apart its payload, which is the case with Ethernet. MOST technology is especially effective when there is a known priority that all the data is flowing from a defined source to one or more defined sinks. It also has built-in features that allow for remote control of simple nodes, eliminating the need for programming and extra processing power at simple end devices.

Table 1 summarizes some key characteristics. Each network can implement features of the other one, but these implementations end up using more processing power and are not optimized for particular types of communication.

table1
Table 1.

Figure 1 shows how data goes in and out of an Ethernet physical layer. The standard defines a Media Access Controller (MAC) that takes a data stream and serializes it onto the physical interconnection, whether that is a 100BASE-TX, 100BASE-T1, or any other of a variety of physical layers. What the data is does not matter to the standard. It is up to a processor running higher-layer protocols to decide the meaning of the data that it sees. This makes the hardware implementation simple. However, it pushes the complications of figuring out how to deal with the details of transmitting information to higher layers of software. Determinism and latency can be compromised, depending on system loads. The host processor has to take in each Ethernet frame. It has to unpack the frame and take care of distributing the payload to the appropriate devices that will deal with it. This is not too burdensome for small bursts of traffic, typical of communication messages flowing between systems. The mechanisms are well understood, so no special skills need to be acquired. And, these systems are ubiquitous in data-processing systems.

Microchip-F1
Figure 1. Data needs to be unpacked by the Host CPU to determine what to do with it. The Host CPU needs to determine what the data is and where to send it for processing or use.

Figure 1 shows a simple Media Independent Interface (MII), which is a standard way for Ethernet systems to access the Ethernet transceiver. There are a few variants of this MII that are not all supported in each processor, but they are largely standardized. Network control is performed through software stacks running in the host CPU, and the burden of routing the information is left to custom software stacks.

When data is flowing continuously in a stream, matters become more complex because the host processor now has to continuously respond to packets coming in. This can happen at rates up to 8 kHz. Each packet has to be unpacked, and the data eventually needs to be assembled into a continuous stream before it is sent, for example, to an analog-to-digital (A/D) converter in an audio amplifier; or, if multiple streams need to be mixed together, to a DSP. On the source side, the audio data needs to be packetized before it is transmitted. The cost of the transceiver is low, but additional processing power is required in the host processor, often resulting in the need for a higher-performance, and therefore more costly, device.

More Streamlined

For these types of applications, MOST technology offers a more streamlined interface. Instead of a simple serial transceiver, MOST technology uses Intelligent Network Interface Controllers (INICs). These devices have typical media interfaces built in, so they act as co-processors that unburden higher-level vehicle processors when all that is needed is to send, for example, an audio stream to the I2S port of an A/D or D/A converter. Figure 2 shows this concept.

Microchip-F2
Figure 2. Different data types are multiplexed within a MOST frame and can be sent directly to specific interfaces without Host CPU intervention. Each channel within the frame is individually accessible and routable.

Using MOST technology, multipurpose interfaces can connect to all data channels. Within a MOST network, packet communications, with their attendant custom software stacks, can be limited to only the appropriate communication needs of the system. Data can be automatically routed not just between the processor and the network, but also to specific interfaces, without processor intervention for every single packet. A single physical layer is used to aggregate many different types of channels. This physical layer can be made of Plastic Optical Fiber (POF), Unshielded or Shielded Twisted-Pair (UTP or STP) wiring, coaxial cable and other materials.

Within a MOST network frame, bandwidth is reserved for each channel or data stream that needs to be transmitted. The setup of the source and the sink devices takes place over a control channel, and once completed the data is automatically put into and removed from a specific location. There is no need for addressing overhead, and media streams can easily be sent to whatever device will render them. There’s no burden on a host processor. Certain applications don’t require a processor at all. For example, a headphone amplifier in a rear seat can consist of just an INIC and a D/A converter with a power stage. All control can be done remotely. For those applications where packet data is needed at the same time as streaming data, the MOST150-standard network offers a dedicated MOST Ethernet Packet (MEP) channel, simplifying integration in systems that use both Ethernet and MOST technology.

The easy answer is not to try to force fit one system for all uses. Instead, select the best tool for the job at hand, and create a system solution that results in the best cost and performance. This evaluation should take into account the trade-offs for the processing power needed, when computing the overall system cost.


muyshondt_henryHenry Muyshondt is Senior Manager, Automotive Information Systems Division, Microchip Technology Inc.

Note: MOST is a registered trademark of Microchip Technology Incorporated in the U.S.A. and other countries. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective companies.

General Motors and Toyota Implement Microchip’s MOST50 Networking Devices in Infotainment Systems; 25 Millionth Device Shipped

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Continuing Deployments Led to Microchip’s Delivery of the 25 Millionth MOST50 Intelligent Network Interface Controller

Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP), a leading provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP solutions, today announced that a wide variety of brands from carmakers General Motors Co. and Toyota Motor Corporation, including both volume and luxury vehicles, continue to deploy Microchip’s MOST50 devices in their infotainment systems. Their growing usage over the years recently resulted in the shipment of Microchip’s 25 millionth MOST50 Intelligent Network Interface Controller (INIC).

To date, more than 170 million MOST devices have been installed in 184 car models since 2001. GM, Toyota and all major carmakers have for many years successfully implemented MOST technology in their multi-node infotainment networking systems, as it provides a field-proven, low-risk, whole-system solution. GM and Toyota’s networks utilize Microchip’s MOST50 INICs, featuring an Electrical Physical Layer (ePHY) that is optimized for use with Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) copper wire. The result is a system that can predictably and efficiently transport video, audio, packet and control data throughout the vehicle without time-synchronization protocols, using dedicated channels for minimal processor overhead in the main infotainment control unit processors. The remote-connection-management and remote-control capabilities of all MOST INICs enable further options, including the ability to build slim (processor-less) network nodes. MOST INICs also provide industry-standard hardware interfaces to processor and peripheral devices for the efficient routing of audio, video and packet data, which greatly simplifies module designs. End users can immediately access the vehicle’s infotainment system, due to the MOST INIC’s ultra-fast network startup feature.

“This milestone demonstrates the continuing global acceptance of MOST networking technology in both volume and luxury vehicle platforms,” said Dan Termer, vice president of Microchip’s Automotive Information Systems Division. “Carmakers, including General Motors and Toyota, have successfully implemented multi-node MOST50 networking systems. This is especially satisfying since the models employing MOST technology received exceptional results in the latest Consumer Reports vehicle reliability and JD Powers and Associates vehicle dependability survey rankings, where in-vehicle technology performance has become a larger factor in the vehicle’s overall rating.”

The MOST Cooperation standards enable automotive OEMs and their Tier 1 suppliers with a proven and well-supported methodology for defining and implementing high-bandwidth infotainment and Advanced Driver Assistance (ADAS) systems, including a standard physical layer and a robust method for system management and control with superior reliability and Quality of Service (QoS). Using MOST technology also results in reduced weight for easier compliance with environmental regulations.

To learn more about Microchip’s MOST networking products, visit http://www.microchip.com/MOST-051315a.


About Microchip Technology
Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP) is a leading provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP solutions, providing low-risk product development, lower total system cost and faster time to market for thousands of diverse customer applications worldwide. Headquartered in Chandler, Arizona, Microchip offers outstanding technical support along with dependable delivery and quality. For more information, visit the Microchip website at http://www.microchip.com/Homepage-051315a.

Contact Information

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tele: 480.792.7200
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