Archive for July, 2015

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Saelig Introduces Multiple Instrument System MIS4 Universal Test System

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

versatile easy-use all-in-one unit offers eight high specification test and measurement instrument in one compact module

Saelig Company, Inc.(www.saelig.com) has introduced the ABI Electronics’Multiple Instrument Station MIS4, an all-in-one testing tool that provides all commonly required test instruments in one compact programmable hardware module, mounted in a compact case or installed in a PC drive bay.  Controlled by ABI’s sophisticated SYSTEM 8 Ultimate PC software with a simple yet programmable operator interface, the MIS4 combines eight laboratory instruments: a 3-channel 350MHz digital storage oscilloscope with sophisticated triggering options and automatic measurements; a 1.1GHz frequency counter and three 350MHz counters; a 14-bit dual-channel 25MHz arbitrary waveform function generator; a fully floating ammeter; a fully floating voltmeter; a fully floating ohmmeter; multi-rail 4-channel power supplies; and 8 programmable I/O channels to cover almost any test and measurement need.


The MIS4 comes complete with the Windows-based TestFlow Manager,a step by step sequence of tests that guides operators during fault-finding or test procedure processes. Along with the specific instruments required for a test, additional instructions, photos, PDFs, videos and other documents can be included in a test sequence design to make complex test procedures understandable and repeatable. Automatic instrument setup speeds up test operations and set-by-step test sequences enables rapid operator training. TestFlow Manager sequential testing reduces the risk of inaccurate measurements and automatically saves all test parameters for a final customized test report. It removes subjective operator data interpretation by using automatic results comparison.  This frees an engineer’s time by allowing semi-skilled operators to run test procedures repeatably and accurately.   This provides a much faster and more economical testing solution than using traditional oscilloscope, metering and other bench test methods, and can quickly produce the required Pass/Fail or other test and debug results.


Solving troublesome test situations where it takes a long time to set up a test procedure, or where instrument settings become inadvertently changed, MIS4 provides a simple combination of appropriate instruments in one compact, space-saving box.  Basic control via its versatile user interface allows problem solving by staff with a range of skill levels. Custom instruments can be created for individual operators to provide an ideal platform for computer-based training or specific or repetitive test routines. The sophisticated TestFlow Manager can remember unlimited test configurations, controlled by access levels with password protection, so that each operator can save instrument settings and recall them in seconds.


Applications include: production test, education, automotive, manufacturing, oil & gas, telecommunications, maintenance, PCB testing and troubleshooting, power-on/power-off testing, QA reporting, automated test sequences, etc.


The MIS4 Multiple Instrument Station featuring eight high specification test and measurement instruments is made in Europe by ABI Electronics Ltd., a leading embedded test equipment manufacturer. It is available now from their USA distributor Saelig Company, Inc. Fairport, NY. For detailed specifications, free technical assistance, or additional information, please contact Saelig 1-888-7SAELIG, via email: info@saelig.com, or visit www.saelig.com.


About Saelig Company Inc.

Founded in 1988 in Rochester, New York, Saelig is a North American distributor with a growing reputation for finding and sourcing remarkable, unique test and measurement and control products and components for use in a wide variety of industries. Products lines are continuously added from sources across the globe, and are offered at competitive prices, accompanied by full in-house technical support, exceptional customer service, and fast delivery. For full details of available product lines, please visit www.saelig.com.

Contact Information

Saelig Co. Inc.

1160-D2 Pittsford-Victor Road
Pittsford, NY, 14534
USA

tele: 585.385.1750
fax: 585.385.1768
sales@saelig.com
www.saelig.com

SDCmaterials, Inc. Announces Investment from SAIC Capital

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

SDCmaterials, Inc. (“SDC”), a leader in high performance automotive catalyst materials, today announced an investment round led by SAIC Technologies Fund I, LLC (“SAIC”), the venture capital investment arm of SAIC Motor Corporation. SAIC Motor Corporation is the largest automotive manufacturer in China, having sold in excess of 5.6 million cars in 2014. In the context of SDC’s ongoing global commercialization, the investment round will serve to further accelerate the company’s current commercial efforts in the Chinese market.

“SDC’s break-through catalytic materials are enabling step-function improvements in the performance efficiencies of the underlying Platinum Group Metals that are key to emissions control. Using SDC materials in the emission catalysts will allow us to deliver the best automotive emissions control solutions available – to the benefit of our in-house vehicle brands as well as the brands of our current and future global partners,” said Anish Patel (Senior Investment Director).

“SAIC is a great partner for us,” said SDCmaterials’ CEO Maximilian Biberger. “The company has vertically integrated exhaust-system assets and is aggressively pursuing global growth across a foundation of leadership products. We look forward to a close collaboration.”

Existing investors, including General Motors Ventures, BASF Venture Capital, Volvo Group Venture Capital, Invus Financial Advisors and Emerald Technology Ventures, also participated in the investment round.


About SDCmaterials, Inc.

SDCmaterials develops and commercializes high value advanced catalyst materials based on a novel materials fabrication and integration platform. The company was founded in 2004 with its headquarters and R&D center in Tempe, Arizona, USA and production facilities in Schwarzheide, Germany.

CONTACT:
Maximilian Biberger, CEO
SDCmaterials, Inc.
Tel: +1 (480) 966-6106 ext. 101
Email: maximilian.biberger@sdcmaterials.com

About SAIC Motor Limited

SAIC Motor is the largest auto company on China’s A-share market.  SAIC Motor’s business covers the research, production and vehicle sales of both passenger cars and commercial vehicles. It also covers components including engines, gearboxes, powertrains, chassis, interior and exterior and miscellaneous electronic components, and logistics, vehicle telematics, second-hand vehicle transactions and auto finance services. Details at http://www.saicgroup.com/english/index.shtml

CONTACT:
Anish Patel, Senior Investment Director
SAIC Capital
Tel: 650-391-2404
Email: apatel@saicusa.com

Contact Information

SAIC MOTOR

489 Weihai Road
Shanghai,

tele: 86-021-22011888
fax: 86-021-22011888

World’s First Automotive-Qualified 2Mbit EEPROM from STMicroelectronics Helps Make Cars Greener and Safer

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

STMicroelectronics has introduced the industry’s first AEC-Q100-qualified 2Mbit EEPROM device extending the possibilities for parameter storage and management in complex automotive modules.

ew advanced applications such as hybrid, electric, or high-power truck engines require extensive use of various parameters, including the information on air volume, fuel injection, exhaust, or battery charge, to maximize power-conversion efficiency for greener driving. Similarly, automotive-safety applications, such as event recording for airbag or body and braking controllers, increasingly rely on storing and processing large amounts of parametric inputs that include object detection, 3-axis motion, wheel speed, and steering angle.

ST’s new M95M02 EEPROM combines large storage capacity with high cycling and data-retention performance (4 million cycles per byte, clock frequency up to 10MHz, and 100 years guaranteed). Together, these features enable better accuracy and flexibility in ECU (Electronic Control Unit) operation. With this EEPROM, the complex control algorithms in the ECU can take advantage of fine-grained real-time monitoring of environment parameters for maximum precision.

The market-unique 2Mbit EEPROM offers an additional lockable page of 256 bytes to safely store module tracing ability, identification numbers, or mission-critical data. The lockable page has specific access instructions to avoid interaction with the standard part of the memory array. Mission-critical data can be updated and cycled or locked into a read-only mode for more security.

ST’s M95M02-A125 EEPROMs have passed the AEC-Q100 Grade-1 reliability criteria tests and operate at 2.5V up to 125°C. They extend the ST Automotive EEPROM density range from 2K up to 2Mbit in a single SO8N footprint package, for total design flexibility. The M95M02-A125 is available in volume, priced from $1.50 for orders of 1000 pieces.

Note to editors:
ST is the #1 supplier of EEPROM with a 25% market share, according to IHS Competitive Landscaping Tool (March 2015).

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

Green Hills Software and Luxoft Partner to Bring the Automotive HMI Design Tool Chain to a Wide Range of MCUs that Power Digital Instrument Clusters

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Integration of Green Hills Software INTEGRITY real-time operating system with Luxoft’s Populus Suite HMI design tool chain enables its use on the common MCU platforms for the automotive digital instrument clusters

Green Hills Software, the largest independent software vendor for the Internet of Things, and Luxoft Holding, Inc (NYSE:LXFT), a leading provider of software development services and innovative IT solutions to a global client base, today announced the integration of Green Hills Software’s INTEGRITY® real-time operating system (RTOS) with Luxoft’s PopulusTMSuite HMI design tool chain. With the use of Green Hills Software’s MULTI® integrated development tool chain, this combination allows Populus to run on a wide range of automotive grade microcontrollers (MCUs), enabling the creation of robust digital instrument clusters with a low memory footprint.

Luxoft’s Populus is specially designed for operation using a low memory footprint. By addressing the specific features of the MCU, a highly optimized Populus runtime engine enables the combination of a high performance HMI with very low memory consumption for both the engine stored in the flash memory as well as the RAM memory needed during the runtime. Luxoft’s Populus Suite enables the rapid HMI development for customizable, 2D or 3D, fully digital instrument clusters, head-up displays (HUD), in-vehicle infotainment systems and entry level to mid-tier Head Units.

“Luxoft brings a unique solution to the automotive industry with its Populus Suite that allows the design of modern digital instrument clusters using a low memory footprint,” said Chris Tubbs, director of business development EMEA for Green Hills Software. “By partnering with us, Luxoft is not only able to accommodate a greater variety of MCU platforms, but can now offer its customers a full benefit of our unparalleled expertise in embedded application security. The INTEGRITY partitioned architecture securely protects confidential content from malicious attacks and unwanted access, and remains the industry’s most trusted real-time operating system.”

Designed to meet the highest possible requirements for security, reliability, and performance, the Green Hills INTEGRITY RTOS offers embedded developers effective protection of applications without sacrificing real-time performance. Security is achieved by the use of hardware memory protection to isolate and protect embedded applications. Secure partitions guarantee each task the resources it needs to run correctly and fully protect the operating system and user tasks from errant and malicious code, including denial-of-service attacks, worms, and Trojan horses.

The MULTI integrated development environment leverages 30 years of embedded software development expertise to provide developers an integrated package of tools they can trust to create reliable software efficiently. The MULTI IDE offers integrated multicore development, debugging and programming tools, including AUTOSAR operating system awareness, flash programming for on-chip flash, performance profiler, project builder, code coverage, run-time error checking, MISRA C adherence wizard, and the DoubleCheck™ integrated static code analyzer.

“We see Green Hills Software as the leader in embedded security and real-time operating systems, who has earned the well-deserved trust of the developer community over the last few decades,” said Mikhail Bykov, managing director of Luxoft Automotive. “We look forward to bringing our market-leading Populus Suite HMI design tool chain to an even wider range of MCU platforms with the added benefit of the secure INTEGRITY RTOS. Using Populus Suite, the automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers can now implement the latest digital instrument cluster designs whether independently or with the help of our professional services.”

Availability

The combined solution is available today and will be demonstrated at the Embedded Systems Conference, July 21-22, 2015, in Santa Clara, CA.


About Green Hills Software

Founded in 1982, Green Hills Software is the largest independent software vendor for the Internet of Things. In 2008, the Green Hills INTEGRITY-178 RTOS was the first and only operating system to be certified by NIAP (National Information Assurance Partnership comprised of NSA & NIST) to EAL 6+, High Robustness, the highest level of security ever achieved for any software product. Our open architecture integrated development solutions address deeply embedded, absolute security and high-reliability applications for the military/avionics, medical, industrial, automotive, networking, consumer and other markets that demand industry-certified solutions. Green Hills Software is headquartered in Santa Barbara, CA, with European headquarters in the United Kingdom. Visit Green Hills Software at www.ghs.com.

About Luxoft

Luxoft Holding, Inc (NYSE:LXFT) is a leading provider of software development services and innovative IT solutions to a global client base consisting primarily of large multinational corporations. Luxoft’s software development services consist of core and mission critical custom software development and support, product engineering and testing, and technology consulting. Luxoft’s solutions are based on its proprietary products and platforms that directly impact its clients’ business outcomes and efficiently deliver continuous innovation. The Company develops its solutions and delivers its services from 24 dedicated delivery centers worldwide. It has over 9,000 employees across 27 offices in 15 countries in North America, Mexico, Western and Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific, and South Africa. Luxoft is incorporated in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, has its operating headquarters office in Zug, Switzerland and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. For more information, please visit: http://www.luxoft.com.

Contact Information

Green Hills Software, Inc.

30 West Sola Street
Santa Barbara, CA, 93101
USA

tele: 805.965.6044 x160
fax: 800.965.6343
sales@ghs.com
www.ghs.com/DSP

2A, 70V SEPIC/Boost DC/DC Converter with 7µA Quiescent Current

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Linear Technology Corporation announces the LT8494, a current mode, fixed frequency SEPIC/boost DC/DC converter with an internal 2A, 70V switch. Ultralow quiescent current of only 7µA makes the device ideal for always-on automotive or other industrial battery powered systems. The LT8494 starts up from an input voltage range of 2.5V to 32V and once running it operates from inputs from 1V to 60V, making it suitable for applications with input sources ranging from a single-cell Li-Ion to automotive inputs. The LT8494 can be configured as a boost, SEPIC or flyback converter. Its switching frequency can be programmed via a single resistor between 250kHz and 1.5MHz, enabling designers to minimize external component sizes. The combination of a thermally enhanced TSSOP-20E or 4mm x 4mm QFN package and tiny externals ensures a very compact footprint while minimizing solution cost.

The LT8494’s internal, high efficiency 2A/70V 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 LT8494 can operate with input supply voltages up to 60V for SEPIC topology and up to 32V, with ride through protection in boost and flyback topologies. Other features include a FMEA tolerant package (TSSOP-20E), power good indicator, programmable soft-start and thermal shutdown protection.

The LT8494 is available in a thermally enhanced TSSOP-20 package. Pricing starts at $2.85 each for 1,000 piece quantities. Industrial temperature (-40°C to 125°C) and high temperature (-40°C to 150°C) grades are also available. All versions are available from stock. For more information, visit www.linear.com/product/LT8494.

Summary of Features: LT8494

  • Wide Input Voltage Range of ∼1V to 60V (2.5V to 32V for Start-Up)
  • Low Ripple Burst Mode® Operation
    • 7µA 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
  • Power Good 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 Pin
  • Soft-Start Programmable with One Capacitor
  • 20-Lead TSSOP and 4mm x 4mm QFN Packages

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

crystalsol Announces Development of Fully Printed Flexible Photovoltaic Film Using Silver Nanowires From Cambrios

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

(Intersolar North America) –Vienna, Austria-based flexible photovoltaic film (PV) innovator, crystalsol GmbH, and Cambrios Technologies, the Sunnyvale, CA-based leader in silver nanowire technology, today announced that crystalsol has successfully developed fully printed flexible solar cells using silver nanowires from Cambrios.Solar cells from the pilot production line at crystalsol are shipping into low volume consumer products. crystalsol expects large volume product shipment into building integrated photovoltaics market to begin in the near future.

“Our proprietary printed solar cell technology successfully achieves highly efficient solar cells that are thin, lightweight and flexible allowing our solar films to be integrated into building facades, chassis of vehicles as well as clothing/accessories for consumer applications,” said crystalsol CEO Rumman Syed. “The highly conductive ClearOhm® silver nanowires from Cambrios enables us to move to a fully printed solar cell architecture and achieve the high throughput and cost structure required for success in this competitive market segment.”

crystalsol’s thin film-based photovoltaic (PV) module production process is based on roll-to-roll printing, enabling high throughputs and exceptional cost structure. This improved production approach is expected to reach large scale within the next 18 months.

“The entire thrust of the PV film industry is driving down large-scale production costs while exceeding the performance of traditional PV technologies,” added Cambrios President & CEO John LeMoncheck. “Our two companies are bringing added value by pushing this technology further and faster into the building integrated thin-film PV market segments.”

Market Trend
According to a market study by NanoMarkets, annual revenues for building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) are growing rapidly and expected to reach over U.S. $ 35 billion by 2019.


About crystalsol
In the forefront of next-generation solar cell technology, the company creates flexible photovoltaic film offering exceptional cost and versatility advantages versus traditional photovoltaic cell technologies. Its energy capturing films, either opaque or semi-transparent, may be integrated into windows, facades and rooftops of buildings as well as can be integrated into consumer products like mobile chargers, bags, clothing and motor vehicles of all kinds. The cells can be laminated with polymer foil for integration in structured facades or encapsulated in glass for higher stability. Due to the simple production process, the films can be tailor-made in shape and size. crystalsol’s solar cells generate electrical power cost-competitively within many end user markets.

About Cambrios Technology
Cambrios leads the industry in providing innovative solutions using nanotechnology. Its breakthrough silver nanowire-based transparent conductor material simplifies and cost-reduces electronics manufacturing and improves end-product performance for electronic devices. The company’s ClearOhm® product is a transparent conductor with significantly higher optical and electrical performance than traditional materials and methods. Applications of ClearOhm include touch screens, EMI shielding, LCDs, ePaper, OLED lighting and thin film photovoltaics. Cambrios is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., with offices in Japan and Taiwan.

Contact Information

crystalsol G


tele: +43 1 890 187 90
fax: +43 1 890 187 90
office@crystalsol.com

Multiscreen Challenges and Opportunities for Vehicle Designers

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Adopting automotive UI technologies with agility.

Drivers and passengers expect to connect and synchronize their own mobile devices to in-car systems and access them from the dashboard as well as to make comfort adjustments within the vehicle just as easily using their smartphones and tablets. While devices may run various operating systems and versions, users expect the experience of using these device within the vehicle to be seamless.

Figure_1_Automotive_IVI

Figure 1: In-vehicle systems expose APIs to third-party devices

At the same time that this user expectation of seamlessness is becoming the norm, the car is becoming an IT platform in which the in-vehicle systems expose Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to third-party devices that allow the development of additional services without the direct involvement of the car OEM (Figure 1). These trends generate significant challenges.

Even when an OEM has control of a single compute platform, such as the embedded microcontroller in a dashboard display, modifications to the application to take advantage of new user interface (UI) techniques can involve considerable rework at the API level. When making changes to suit a new look-and-feel, developers have to ensure that each successive update does not impact performance or introduce faults. This problem becomes far more complex when the OEM has to consider interaction with myriad different user devices.

Abstraction as the Answer
What is needed is some way to abstract the details of the underlying operating system to allow a single codebase to run across multiple targets. Attempts have been made to provide cross-platform portability for applications on the desktop at the language level, but they have limitations. Java, for example, has broad support, but most implementations fail to adapt to the specific requirements of individual devices along with introducing performance overhead through a virtual machine.

The broad adoption of web-enabled apps and online content offers one possibility: using web technologies, such as the HTML5 that consists of HyperText Markup Language (HTML), Cascading StyleSheet (CSS) version 3 and different JavaScript based script programs. HTML5 makes it possible to deploy rich media applications on any mobile platform that has full, consistent support for the standard. But HTML5 has some key drawbacks. For example, HTML5 as such isn’t designed for effective UI design. What’s more, web browsers are still inconsistent in their rendering of HTML5, and the performance is difficult to get to the level of native systems. In automotive systems, there is no room for any performance overhead.

HTML5’s approach is, however, attractive, particularly for multiscreen applications as the technology would be usable on web browsers as well. HTML5 applications segregate the core business logic fromthe user interface. Changes in interfaces can be represented by the use of different presentation layers that reflect the differences in target screen or platform, from the size of the display through to the types of interaction that it supports. In this way, a presentation layer developed for one operating system can be treated differently from that needed for a smartphone, for instance. The HTML5 methodology also emphasizes responsive web design targeting an optimal viewing experience for a certain screen size by just designing one flexible presentation.

Seamlessness
If well-designed techniques are used, the two layers can communicate seamlessly with each other and provide the event-driven responsiveness that users now expect from user interfaces. What is required is an applications framework that not only supports the separation of business logic from presentation, but also streamlines tuning the user interface to each target device. The goal is not to use the same code across all targets but rather to maximize the amount of common code while still supporting responsive user interfaces.

For example, although each target operating system will expose networking services in its own way, a high-level applications framework can hide those differences through the use of common services. The same API can be offered across supported target platforms and similar APIs extend to cloud services and access to databases as well as to common connected-device functionality such as cameras and GPS-based location services. A good architectural design allows direct access and easy integration to the native services of the system, such as the automotive buses and controls, but is careful not to couple these too tightly—possible defects in the UI must not affect any of the underlying systems.

Application frameworks have been employed on desktop applications, often using a widget-centric infrastructure. Traditionally, these techniques employ callbacks, which are pointers to C or C++ functions. When a UI event occurs, the callback uses the pointer to notify the function of a change. There are two problems with this approach. First, the programmer has to ensure that the callback is made using the right argument, which complicates maintenance and can lead to errors being introduced as the UI is changed. Second, the technique calls for the interface and business-logic code to be tightly connected as each callback needs to know exactly which function to access.

Dodging a Maintenance Headache
Now coming onto the market are high-level applications frameworks, such as that offered by The Qt Company, which take a more flexible approach to signalling across the logic-interface boundary (Figure 2). This can be achieved using a “signals and slots” mechanism. Under this paradigm, functions register their interest in signals by adding themselves to slots. A signal can be connected to more than one slot, making the system more flexible than callbacks. And the technique is type-safe, eliminating one of the biggest maintenance headaches of using callbacks.

Figure_2_Separation_of_Declarative_UI_design_from_imperative_UI_logic

Figure 2: A cross-platform framework such as Qt enables taking a technical approach forward to true multiscreen approaches where the same service or application is used everywhere: the user’s home computer,  tablet, car and his smartphone. Even though the same code works as-is across platforms Qt internally separates the declarative UI design from the imperative UI logic.

Using those slots, signals of interest pass along to any interested function so, for example, a mapping application can check GPS position, and a separate weather application can use the same course and position data to check for possible road-condition problems ahead. The same business logic works whether the client runs in the dashboard environment or in an app developed by a car OEM for a smartphone (Figure 3).

Figure_3_Automotive_Architecture

Figure  3: Although each target device and operating system will expose networking services in its own way, a high-level application framework makes those differences transparent through the use of common services. Such a framework makes it possible to  re-use the same technology and even code directly for multiple screens. In addition, the framework can be used to expose an API for additional software services, making the Automotive IVI a platform itself

By paying careful attention to software architecture and by embracing the concept of a portable multiscreen-oriented software framework, many of the challenges designers of automotive dashboard and infotainment confront can be eased.  A move towards framework-based development enables car manufacturers become more agile in their adoption of user-interface technologies while preserving the carefully planned and documented software that these applications require.


Tuukka-Ahoniemi Tuukka Ahoniemi is a technical product marketing manager at The Qt Company. He holds an M.Sc. (tech) in Computer Sciences and is based in Tampere, Finland.

Why It’s Important to Get on Board the Software-Defined Car

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

What’s already happened to smartphones and other devices will be disrupting the automotive market.

Pistons and powertrains absorbed all the attention of automotive engineers years ago, but today’s focus will increasingly be on the software driving the advanced electronics inside automobiles. Yes, this represents a major disruption, but like all significant evolutions, it also creates opportunities. Developments in what’s been called “the software-defined car” are moving like a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport in several automotive sectors, bringing new Silicon Valley thinking to Detroit.

F1
Figure 1: Software updates will be made over-the-air to the new Software Defined Cars. Photo courtesy Movimento Group

Nobody would deny that today’s car is a rich hardware platform bristling with sensors and processors that rely on software. Graphical displays, touch screens, computer graphics, voice control—these are becoming the car’s interface, with electronic sensors and algorithms determining the entire driving experience to a wide extent. The software-driven features coming down the road are amazing; not just new auto infotainment apps, but completely new features like wholesale personalization, brand-new advanced driver-assistance features, extensions for car sharing, regional specific adaptations, car-to-home integration, new vehicle safety options, remote mobile control, new 4×4 drive modes and more.

Automakers Join OTA SW Update Bandwagon
The software-defined car must also be the software-connected car, with over-the-air (OTA) updates making sure that each automobile is running the latest, most effective code. OTA updates began— naturally—with Tesla’s Model S, but the concept has been speeding forward. At least five automakers —BMW, Hyundai, Ford, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz—now offer OTA software updates, with many more likely to join in over the next 18 months or so.

OTA software upgrades not only affect entertainment systems but also powertrain and vehicle safety systems. According to analyst firm Gartner Group, there will be 250 million connected vehicles on the road by 2020 . Within five years, OTA software upgrades are expected to be commonplace for new vehicles.

The value of the market for connected car services is forecast to grow to $148 billion in 2020, reported Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) . Safety-related features are expected to account for 47 percent, followed by autonomous driving at 35 percent, with entertainment features accounting for 13 percent. This networked mobility market represents a tripling from today’s level and is not only being pushed by demand for connected-car components, but also by the rise of entirely new digital business opportunities, stated PwC.

There’s another powerful factoid proving the huge potential of this no-fuss, no-muss approach to software updates that has grabbed the attention of the entire auto industry. The first round in a slew of high-priced acquisitions in the segment includes Harman International’s $170 million purchase of Red Bend Software and its $780 million buy of Symphony Teleca.

Thumbs Down on Software Update Travel
Given how consumers use their other electronic devices, they may soon consider it outrageous that they must either download to a thumb drive or travel to a dealership to have their vehicle’s software updated. Imagine having to go to a retailer to upgrade an application on your smartphone or tablet. While automotive systems are more complex than consumer electronics, OTA is clearly the future for electronics-driven vehicles.
Nevertheless, an automotive-grade solution must be reliable, secure and safe. It must also handle the numerous interdependent modules within the car. Customer expectations are much higher as well. People want “mobile-like” updates with zero downtime, zero crashes and zero trouble. While customers may be annoyed when a new software update breaks their phone for an hour, it’s unacceptable if a broken automotive software update means that they can’t get to work for the same period.

A Future in Future Proofing
Most discussions about vehicle software updates have been limited to bug fixes, recall avoidance and security patches. However, with software supplying so many of the car’s capabilities, software updates can give the industry an amazing degree of flexibility that hasn’t yet been fully realized. One obvious opportunity is in releasing innovative new software throughout the vehicle’s entire life. In effect, future-proofing hardware for the car.

The software-defined car also lets carmakers react in real time to their customers. OEMs can access anonymous diagnostic data that lets them see how their cars are being used. Such access can feed a continual improvement process to develop new features that customers want. Just like application updates do today, automotive software updates can fix areas of continual complaint, add newly requested options and, most important, create happy, satisfied customers.

The software-defined car must combine deep automotive expertise, secure over-the-air updates, complete occupant safety, and flexible diagnostic access to allow process and product improvements through reliably updatable software.

Fixing Some of Today’s OTA Limitations
While OTA is clearly on its way to becoming a standard practice in the industry, many current vendors haven’t ironed out some of the limitations in their solutions. One approach to avoiding concern among automotive OEMs and Tier-1 module manufacturers, comes from car software management company Movimento. The company recently brought to the market a solution that encompasses the entire software updating needs of the car as a whole.

Some vendors require brand-specific code to be installed on every module. But this software often isn’t even available for older, legacy architectures. OEMs should seek out solutions enabling all-car updates for the widest list of brands and models.

Another superior OTA feature worth seeking out is bidirectional data gathering within the car, in which a data agent gathers vehicle diagnostics, for prognostic and preventative analytics purposes. This action can provide data to third-party companies for insurance and other uses. The OTA platform, such as Movimento’s OTA platform, knows when to use this data to intelligently know when to safely and proactively apply the next software update to the car.

Security is an ongoing need in the OTA process to keep autos safe and minimize the risk of being hacked through monitoring the vehicle bus and detecting unauthorized messages. Today’s most advanced approach uses cybersecurity technology to continually protect the entire vehicle from unauthorized messages, including security breaches of any kind such as malware.

Mining the Software Mindset
The software-defined car is a huge step forward in a technology continuum that will eventually bring us production versions of the driverless car and other major advances rewriting the auto industry. Consider that a Boeing Dreamliner 787 has 15 million lines of code—a tenth of what’s expected in tomorrow’s driverless cars. Automotive engineers with a software mindset today will be those best equipped to harness the amazing technology developments in the near future.


Mahbubul_Alam_headshotMahbubul Alam is CTO, Movimento. Alam joined Movimento as CTO in 2015 and is responsible for aligning automotive and information technology with corporate strategy to enable Movimento to lead the automotive industry’s transition to software-defined vehicles. A 17-year industry veteran, Alam works with Movimento customers to maximize the potential of secure over-the-air (OTA) updates and enable new connected services for the vehicle.

Previously, Alam led Cisco Systems strategy in IoT and M2M, where he pioneered and developed this business from the ground up through vision, strategy, platform and execution. He also helped initiate the company’s smart connected vehicle roadmap. Before joining Cisco, Alam held technical leader positions at Siemens and worked as a technical advisor to the Dutch government.

Alam holds a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Delft University of Technology.

Synopsys Accelerates Automotive SoC Development with Broad Portfolio of Silicon-Proven IP

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Availability of ASIL B Ready IP and Investment in AEC-Q100 Testing and TS 16949 Quality Management Accelerates Qualification of Automotive SoCs

Highlights:

  • DesignWare IP portfolio for automotive applications includes Ethernet AVB, LPDDR4, MIPI CSI-2 and DSI, HDMI, PCI Express, USB, Mobile Storage, Logic Libraries, Embedded Memories, NVM, Data Converters, ARC EM processors, EV vision processors and the Sensor and Control IP Subsystem
  • ISO 26262 ASIL B Ready IP accelerates functional safety assessments to help designers reach target ASIL levels
  • AEC-Q100 testing of IP reduces risk and development time for AEC-Q100 qualification of SoCs
  • Development of IP that is compliant to the TS 16949 quality management specification helps meet the high quality levels required for automotive applications

Synopsys, Inc. (Nasdaq:SNPS) today announced that it is accelerating automotive SoC development with a broad portfolio of silicon-proven IP for automotive applications. The DesignWare® IP portfolio includes Ethernet Audio Video Bridging (AVB), LPDDR4, MIPI CSI-2 and DSI, HDMI, PCI Express®, USB, Mobile Storage, Logic Libraries, Embedded Memories, Non-Volatile Memories (NVM), Data Converters, Synopsys ARC® EM processors with Safety Enhancement Package (SEP), EV vision processors and the Sensor and Control IP Subsystem. The DesignWare IP portfolio meets key automotive functional safety requirements today and is being further enhanced to address AEC-Q100 and TS 16949 requirements. With DesignWare IP, SoC designers can accelerate their functional safety assessments and meet the high quality levels required in automotive applications such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and infotainment.

To view the multimedia news release, please go to: http://www.synopsys.com/Company/PressRoom/Pages/automotive-ip-for-adas-infotainment-news-release.aspx

DesignWare Ethernet AVB, LPDDR4 and Embedded Memory IP are now certified to be ASIL B Ready for ISO 26262 functional safety, as required by ADAS applications. The ASIL B Ready DesignWare IP is delivered with safety packages that include failure modes effects and diagnostic analysis (FMEDA) reports as well as safety plans and manuals, giving designers the documentation needed to complete their own certification processes. By providing ASIL B Ready IP, Synopsys is helping designers reduce their development time and meet ISO 26262 functional safety requirements for their ADAS SoCs. In addition to the ASIL B Ready IP currently available, Synopsys offers ARC EM processors with SEP for safety-critical embedded applications and the ASIL D Ready ARC MetaWare Compiler.

“The market for semiconductors in automotive systems is forecasted to grow to $40.7 billion in 2021, with key drivers being ADAS and infotainment applications,” said Colin Barnden, principle analyst at Semicast Research. “Developing applications such as pedestrian detection and lane departure warning and correction requires a new class of SoCs. By providing the necessary IP that has been certified to meet the functional safety standards, Synopsys enables SoC designers to more easily perform timely and successful safety-critical certification assessments, ultimately accelerating the qualification of their automotive SoCs.”

“Functional safety, represented by ASIL B Ready certification, is crucial for new automotive applications such as ADAS,” said Wolfgang Ruf, product manager at SGS-TUV Saar, a leading ISO 26262 training, testing and certification company. “Meeting ISO standards is key to demonstrating that an SoC, including its IP components, delivers enhanced processes for functional safety. By investing in the development of IP that meets strict certification guidelines, Synopsys is enabling SoC designers to more quickly meet their automotive design and certification objectives.”

In addition to providing ASIL B Ready IP, Synopsys is making significant investments in IP solutions that are AEC-Q100 tested and meet TS 16949 quality management standards. The AEC-Q100 industry standard specification outlines the stress tests and reference test conditions for the qualification of automotive grade SoCs. By providing IP that is tested against applicable AEC-Q100 specifications, Synopsys is enabling designers to reduce design risk and development time for achieving SoC-level AEC-Q100 qualification. The TS 16949 quality management standard identifies risks in product development processes. By enhancing its IP development processes to fully support TS 16949 documentation requirements, Synopsys is providing the organization, policies, processes and resources needed to help designers meet SoC-level TS 16949 requirements.

“The growth of safety features in automotive SoCs requires IP providers to put strict processes in place to help ensure that the IP meets stringent functional safety standards,” said John Koeter, vice president of marketing for IP and prototyping at Synopsys. “Our rich portfolio of DesignWare IP meets key automotive functional safety requirements today. We will continue to make significant investments in additional areas such as AEC-Q100 and TS 16949 to provide designers with a broad portfolio of trusted IP solutions to help them accelerate the development and qualification of their automotive SoCs.”

Availability & Resources

The following DesignWare IP is available now for automotive applications:

  • ASIL B Ready Ethernet AVB, LPDDR4 and Embedded Memories
  • ARC EM processors with Safety Enhancement Package (SEP) and the ASIL-D Ready ARC MetaWare Compiler
  • Automotive Temperature Grade 0 qualified NVM IP

DesignWare MIPI CSI-2 and DSI, HDMI, PCI Express, USB, Mobile Storage, Logic Libraries, Data Converters, EV vision processors and the Sensor and Control IP Subsystem are being enhanced to support automotive-grade applications.


About DesignWare IP

Synopsys is a leading provider of high-quality, silicon-proven IP solutions for SoC designs. The broad DesignWare IP portfolio includes logic libraries, embedded memories, embedded test, analog IP, complete interface IP solutions consisting of controller, PHY and next-generation verification IP, embedded processors and subsystems. To accelerate prototyping, software development and integration of IP into SoCs, Synopsys’ IP Accelerated initiative offers IP prototyping kits, IP software development kits and IP subsystems. Synopsys’ extensive investment in IP quality, comprehensive technical support and robust IP development methodology enables designers to reduce integration risk and accelerate time-to-market. For more information on DesignWare IP, visit http://www.synopsys.com/designware.

About Synopsys

Synopsys, Inc. (Nasdaq:SNPS) is the Silicon to Software™ partner for innovative companies developing the electronic products and software applications we rely on every day. As the world’s 15th largest software company, Synopsys has a long history of being a global leader in electronic design automation (EDA) and semiconductor IP, and is also a leader in software quality and security testing with its Coverity® solutions. Whether you’re a system-on-chip (SoC) designer creating advanced semiconductors, or a software developer writing applications that require the highest quality and security, Synopsys has the solutions needed to deliver innovative, high-quality, secure products. Learn more at www.synopsys.com.

Contact Information

Synopsys, Inc.

700 E. Middlefield Road
Mountain View, CA, 94043
USA

tele: 650.584.5000
www.synopsys.com

u-blox launches ultimate indoor/outdoor positioning module NEO-M8L with integrated 3D sensors

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

First all-in-one GNSS module brings road vehicle systems to the next level of performance

Swiss u-blox, a global leader in wireless and positioning modules and chips, introduces the NEO-M8L Automotive Dead Reckoning (ADR) module with integrated motion, direction and elevation sensors. The module integrates gyro and accelerometer with u blox’ leading GNSS platform u-blox M8 to achieve the highest- performance indoor/outdoor positioning solution available, perfect for all road vehicle and high-accuracy navigation applications.

In addition to accessing the integrated module’s gyro and accelerometer data, accident reconstruction systems can provide the location of an accident to facilitate insurance claims even if a collision occurs in a tunnel or park house. High-end navigation devices are able to guide drivers through tunnels of several kilometers thanks to the unsurpassed accuracy of u-blox’ ADR system. Stolen vehicles can be located instantly due to continuous monitoring of sensor data and storage of location in non-volatile memory.

“Devices for usage-based insurance, stolen vehicle recovery, road pricing, fleet management, emergency services, and vehicle navigation depend on reliable, uninterrupted positioning including tunnels, park houses and stacked highways,” said Thomas Nigg, VP Product Strategy at u-blox. “The NEO-M8L is the ideal solution for all road vehicle based applications, able to calculate a position in all circumstances based on its own internal sensors, regardless of satellite visibility and end-device orientation.”

The extremely compact module, only 12.2 x 16.0 x 2.5 mm, requires minimum host integration resulting in no risk, low cost, and fast time-to-market design. With uncritical orientation of the installed module, odometer function and autonomous data logging, it is the first all-in-one solution for all road vehicle applications requiring reliable and uninterrupted position in challenging environments such as urban canyons, tunnels and underground parking.

The NEO-M8L embeds u-blox’ breakthrough “3D Automotive Dead Reckoning” (3D ADR) chip technology. Using the vehicle’s speed information and module’s onboard sensors enables accurate positioning in 3 dimensions, even when satellite signals are completely lost and the end-device installation is not horizontal. An odometer function, based on the ADR technology, also provides accurate and continuous distance travelled.

The module is able to track all visible GNSS satellites including GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, QZSS and all SBAS (European’s Galileo in future firmware version). Concurrent reception of two GNSS systems is supported. The module can output a position up to 20 times per second.

The module uses u blox’ M8 GNSS chip and is available in Professional Product grade. This grade includes qualification according to the ISO16750 standard: “Road vehicles – Environmental conditions and testing for electrical and electronic equipment” and manufacturing in ISO/TS 16949 automotive-certified factories.


About u-blox
Swiss-based u-blox (SIX:UBXN) is a global leader in wireless and positioning semiconductors and modules for the consumer, industrial and automotive markets. Our solutions enable people, vehicles and machines to locate their exact position and wirelessly communicate via voice, text or video. With a broad portfolio of chips, modules and software solutions, u-blox is uniquely positioned to enable OEMs to develop innovative personal, professional and M2M solutions quickly and cost-effectively. With headquarters in Thalwil, Switzerland, u-blox is globally present with offices in Europe, Asia-Pacific and the USA.

Contact Information

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