Archive for January, 2017

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Circular Coil Design Selected for EV Charging Test Station by Leading International Automotive Standards Body

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

WiTricity, the industry pioneer in wireless power transfer over distance, announced that the SAE International’s J2954 Taskforce has selected a circular coil topology for its official test station against which EV wireless charging systems will be tested for interoperability and standards compliance. Products developed by carmakers, Tier 1 suppliers and charging infrastructure suppliers will be measured against 3.7 kW and 7.7 kW test stations.
The agreement on key technical and procedural elements of the standard was reached at a meeting of the SAE J2954 Task Force members held in Ingolstadt, Germany in mid-January. The goal of the task force is to develop a standard that ensures interoperability between the wide range of electrified vehicles being developed by carmakers worldwide and the wireless charging stations that will be widely deployed to streamline the charging of the next generation of EVs and PHEVs.
Vehicle electrification is a priority for automakers, and providing drivers with the most convenient charging experience is critical to reaching mass adoption. Wireless charging has emerged as a preferred solution for electric vehicles and for the autonomous electric vehicles that are expected to be in the market in the coming years. The SAE J2954™ Task Force is developing the standards for wireless charging that enables automakers and their suppliers, as well those companies planning to build and operate wireless charging stations for public usage, to offer seamless interoperability on a global basis.
WiTricity’s DRIVE series of EV reference designs include 3.7 kW, 7.7 kW and 11 kW, scaling to 22 kW and higher, and is based on the company’s patented magnetic resonance technology. These designs deliver superior end-to-end efficiency of 91%-94% and combine WiTricity’s innovative TMN technology with its circular coil design.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions Brings Driver Signature Advanced Analytics to U.S. Telematics Programs

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Sophisticated machine learning techniques and analytics identify an individual’s driving patterns improving consumer experience and representation

LexisNexis Risk Solutions has evolved its machine learning in Driver Signature™ analytics, its proprietary technology for insurance telematics programs, increasing accuracy when identifying the driver for a given trip based on driving style. After collecting a certain number of trips meeting the minimum driving distance, an individual driving pattern can be established. The model requires nominal future interaction with the policyholder to designate that s/he was at the wheel, rather than in the passenger seat of a vehicle, in a taxi or on a bus.

Driver Signature draws from the billions of miles of driving behavior data accumulated since LexisNexis Risk Solutions created its telematics platform in 2009. The telematics platform has the ability to collect, process, normalize and score driving data from smartphone apps, as well as OBDII devices, 12 volt devices and connected cars from auto makers, a.k.a. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).

“Identifying a driver entirely through his/her driving behavior data with minimal reliance on confirmation from the customer is key to a better customer experience,” said David Lukens, Director of Telematics, LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “Driver Signature analytics is a unique identifier which identifies drivers based on their individual driving habits and patterns, and continues to learn over time to become more accurate as it analyzes the driver’s behavior.”

Driver Signature uses machine learning and advanced analytics to identify when a policyholder is driving, which enables insurance carriers to offer telematics programs without the need for an additional aftermarket device to be installed in the vehicle. Once a set of driving pattern attributes are developed, a Driver Signature analytics model is applied to classify the trips as either a driver trip or a passenger trip. The model is then used as the basis for scoring all future journeys.

Up until now, U.S. insurers offering usage-based insurance (UBI) policies needed to trust that the policyholder was the person driving the car and not a partner, friend, young driver or parent. Driver Signature analytics can reduce fraud risks from policyholders claiming to be driving when they are not and vice versa, and offer insurers a new level of confidence in the use of smartphone apps.

There are recommended default settings and insurers will be able to choose customized parameters, including the minimum number of trips and minimum distance of trips, as well as the classification threshold. There is limited customer interaction needed during this process, which makes it a critical enabler of continued consumer adoption of UBI.


LexisNexis Risk Solutions

LexisNexis Risk Solutions is a leader in providing essential information that helps customers across industries and government predict, assess and manage risk. Combining cutting-edge technology, unique data and advanced analytics, LexisNexis Risk Solutions provides products and services that address evolving client needs in the risk sector while upholding the highest standards of security and privacy. LexisNexis Risk is part of RELX Group, a world-leading provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries.

http://www.lexisnexis.com/risk/

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LexisNexis

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San Francisco, CA, 94105

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http://www.lexisnexis.com/risk/

Automotive Capacitive Sensing Electronic Compliance

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Hurdles continue to emerge for those designing automotive electronic subsystems, with complexity growing as radiation sources proliferate.

Product compliance in electronic systems is governed by electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) tests. Qualifying a specific set of tests is necessary for the sale and use of an electronic product in a particular geographical region. For automotive electronic systems, special EMC tests are defined, since the electronic subsystem needs to survive and operate flawlessly in the vicinity of other noisy electrical devices. The vibrations and temperature ranges that exist in an automotive environment also require an additional degree of qualification, defined by a separate IC-level qualification process such as AEC-Q100.

“This also brings out the need to automate the process of EMC testing since a typical EMC test now takes several hours to complete.”

EMC is the ability of an electronic system to function as intended without negatively impacting the performance of other electronic systems. ISO and IEC compliance specifications include radiated (over-the-air transfer) and conducted (through the wiring harness) tests. Each covers emissions (emanating from the system outwards) and immunity (external sources affecting the subsystem under test) aspects of the electronic subsystem. This results in four distinct EMC tests, which are listed below with an example of an EMC test standard cited for each type of test:

1. Conducted immunity test (ISO11452-4)
2. Radiated immunity (ISO 11452-2)
3. Conducted emission (CISPR25)
4. Radiated emission (CISPR25)

A fifth test called electrostatic discharge (ESD) test is often discussed collectively with the above EMC tests. However, it is distinct, as it is performed by using an ESD gun to inject static charges onto the subsystem to measure its immunity. This article focuses on the four EMC tests in great depth.

Let’s look at each of the EMC tests in greater detail, using a capacitive sensing application as an example. We’ll examine custom EMC tests mandated by different automotive OEMs (such as Toyota, BMW, and VW) across geographical regions. We’ll also cover some system-level aspects of designing compliant electronic systems for the automotive environment and upcoming challenges in the way the industry performs EMC tests.

Overview of Defect Classes

EMC tests are performed to evaluate whether the system under test, as well as other systems in its vicinity, function flawlessly in the presence of noise. Some examples of EMC failure symptoms in an automotive environment are as follows:

1. Malfunctioning of noncritical electronic equipment (example: infotainment system, power window control, cabin lighting, etc.) when starting a car.
2. Malfunctioning of critical electronic equipment such as the engine control unit (ECU) or braking system due to a spike during a load dump condition.
3. Audible sound resembling the cranking of the engine or starter motor as an audio output from the infotainment system of the car.
4. Permanent damage to an electronic circuit during the jump start of a car.
5. Spurious and unintended reset of an electronic system due to an electrical disturbance.

Automotive manufacturers specify the severity of such symptoms using defect classification. A typical example of defect classification is described in Table 1.

Table 1: Defect Classification

Table 1: Defect Classification

It must be noted that the severity level is not an indication of the criticality of the defect. All systems, whether critical or not, can have defects in each defect class listed above. However, the acceptance level is different for critical systems such as ECU, braking control, airbag control, power train, and so on. Such systems must not have defects even in class 5. For non-critical systems such as multimedia, infotainment, power windows, and so on, the acceptance level is often lower. Some defects in class 4 and class 5 are usually allowable, depending on their overall effect on the system. The acceptance level is determined by the manufacturer, depending on the possible outcomes of the defects in each subsystem of the car and the cost involved in solving non-critical issues.

IC-Level Automotive Qualification

All electronic components, especially semiconductor ICs that are selected for use in an automotive embedded system, must be capable of surviving and functioning flawlessly in the harsh automotive environment. Device-level standards such as AEC-Q100 are laid out by the Automotive Electronics Council as a guideline for semiconductor manufacturers to qualify their devices for use in a car.

The following is a partial list of important parameters of an IC that are tested for AEC-Q100 qualification:

1. Part operating temperature test (typically up to 125 degrees Celsius)
2. Accelerated life-time simulation test
3. Stress test
4. Wire Bond and solder ball Sheer Test
5. Human Body Model (HBM) ESD test and latch-up test
6. Non-volatile memory endurance testing
7. Short circuit reliability characterization

Due to the high-reliability requirement for electronic components in an automotive system, the system designer must select ICs that are AEC-Q100 qualified. Because of the complexity involved, it is advisable to contact a manufacturer for specific information on its AEC-Q100 qualified components beyond the scope of this article. Manufacturers may also provide detailed literature and applications support for each of their products to pass automotive EMC tests.

System-Level EMC Test Methodology

EMC experiments quantitatively measure if the system under test is robust enough for automotive use. The system must also be “quiet” enough in its functioning such that it does not disturb other systems in the vicinity. For robustness or immunity tests, noise is injected from an external source using either a wiring harness (for conducted immunity) or RF antennas (for radiated immunity). System functionality is observed during the noise injection. The frequency of the injected noise is varied, and its intensity is controlled as defined in the standards specification.
For quantitatively measuring the conducted emissions from a system under test, the frequency spectrum of noise voltage appearing on the wiring harness is plotted against its spectral intensity. For radiated emissions, the spectrum of noise is received by an appropriate RF antenna placed at a distance that is predefined in the standards specification. In either case, the spectrum must be below the acceptable limits defined in the specification. Some commonly followed automotive EMC specifications are listed in Table 2.

Table 2: EMC Standards by Geographical Region

Table 2: EMC Standards by Geographical Region

In addition, automobile manufacturers often have proprietary specifications, many of which are more stringent than the generic standards. Some examples of proprietary automotive EMC standards are listed in Table 3.

Table 3: Proprietary EMC Standards

Table 3: Proprietary EMC Standards

Conducted Immunity Tests

For automotive environments, conducted immunity tests are the most severe among all the EMC tests, making it the most difficult to achieve compliance to immunity tests. Conducted immunity tests are performed by injecting noise onto the system through the wiring harness. The system should function flawlessly in the presence of the noise.

Figure 1: Block Diagram of ISO-11452 EMC Set-up

Figure 1: Block Diagram of ISO-11452 EMC Set-up

The block diagram in Figure 1 shows an example of a Cypress PSoC system that performs the function of a capacitive sensing user interface for controlling the HVAC control unit inside a passenger vehicle. In the case of the ISO11452-4 EMC standard test, an RF noise generator injects noise through an RF-coupled probe onto a wiring harness that supplies power to the system under test. The noise frequency is in the range of 1MHz to 400MHz, and the intensity is 200mA of loop current in the RF probe as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: ISO11452-4 laboratory set-up.

Figure 2: ISO11452-4 laboratory set-up.

Let us take the example of a capacitive sensing interface such as the Cypress CapSense interface. Capacitive sensing is quickly replacing mechanical buttons in a multitude of automotive user interfaces. The functional correctness for a capacitive touch-sensing system is defined by the absence of the following defects:

1. No false touches, i.e., no detection of a touch input by the system when a human touch is not present at the input sensor.
2. No reduction in touch sensitivity, i.e., the user should not have to press the input sensor with additional force for the system to detect a touch input.
3. No stuck state, i.e., the system should not get stuck in the touch-detected state after the user removes the touch input.
4. Intermittent reset of the system due to EMC noise injection is unacceptable.

For passing the conducted immunity test, it is important to design the system with great care, including the design of the voltage regulator circuit and the use of protection circuit elements such as transient voltage suppressor (TVS) diodes, etc. In particular, designing a low-ripple automotive power supply to supply a stable voltage to the subsystem from the 12V automotive battery is crucial for product compliance. The graphical plot in Figure 3 shows the output voltage ripple on the supply rail during an ISO11452-4 test when using a non-automotive power supply circuit (blue plot representing a Rev1 board) in comparison with a well-designed automotive power supply (red plot representing a Rev2 board).

Figure 3: Voltage ripple during conducted immunity tests for different power supply circuits.

Figure 3: Voltage ripple during conducted immunity tests for different power supply circuits.

The ripple is plotted as a function of the noise frequency injected during conducted immunity tests. As seen in the plot, the ripple in the 100MHz region is greatly reduced when the power supply circuit is well designed. This test was performed for a Cypress Semiconductor PSoC4 based capacitive sensing system designed for an automotive HVAC user interface control unit.
Another immunity test, the ISO7637-2 transient immunity test, is peculiar to automotive systems, since it emulates the typical electrical noise generated on the wiring harness during in-car events such as jump-start, load-dump, ignition cranking, reverse battery, etc. The use of appropriate protective devices such as TVS diodes and series inductors in the power path help reduce the effect of transients on the system under test.

Radiated Emission Tests

In an automotive environment, radiated emission tests are particularly important for high-frequency switching systems such as touch-screen infotainment systems and RF transceivers, including Bluetooth and key fob systems in the cabin. The radiated emission test is based on using an RF antenna to measure the spectrum of frequencies emitted from the system under test. Spectral intensity (FFT amplitude) is measured using a spectrum analyzer. Figure 4 shows a laboratory set-up for measuring radiated emissions in an anechoic chamber.

Figure 4: Laboratory set-up for radiated emissions.

Figure 4: Laboratory set-up for radiated emissions.

The frequencies of interest and their permission amplitudes limits are defined by the respective EMC standard. With recent automotive systems generating emissions with even higher amplitudes and frequencies, the EMC standards now include frequencies up to 5GHz. In most cases, a single RF antenna cannot be used to measure the emissions across a wide range of frequencies, hence multiple antennae are used through several bands of frequencies. This process involves equalizing the antenna impedance for all the antennas so that the results across the entire range of frequencies can be compared. Currently, OEMs are adopting a single wideband bow-tie antenna to cover the entire range of frequencies, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5: Wideband bow-tie antenna for RF emission tests.

Figure 5: Wideband bow-tie antenna for RF emission tests.

One of the ways to reduce emissions at higher frequencies is to control the rise time of the switching signals that cause the emissions. Another method is to sweep the frequencies being generated using spread spectrum techniques so that the overall energy is distributed across a wider band of frequencies. Sometimes these methods are integrated by manufacturers with specific components. For example, Cypress employs provide both these techniques in its capacitive sensing technology for effectively achieving compliance concerning radiated emissions.

Radiated Immunity Tests

Radiated immunity tests also use the same antenna as that used for emission tests. For the test, RF noise is injected onto the system under test through a radiation medium (over-the-air). The criteria for passing the tests is similar to that mentioned for conducted immunity tests earlier in this article. Methods such as shielding and metallic enclosures are used for reducing the impact of radiations on the system under test.

Conducted Emission Tests

Conducted emissions deal with the noise injected by the system under test onto the power lines (wiring harness) that often act as a common bus rail across multiple subsystems. In most cases, electronic subsystems in an automobile are not the primary source of electrical noise on the wiring harness. In cases where they significantly contribute to the conducted noise, results can be improved by designing the system with proper bypass capacitors at the power entry point.

Challenges in EMC Compliance Criteria

With electronic subsystems performing critical functions in modern automobiles, the compliance criteria have become more stringent with time. Many automotive OEMs are now mandating that even non-critical electronic subsystems must pass the EMC immunity tests without any defect, not even a defect level 5 as listed above. Also, automotive EMC testing is becoming more and more involved as each function of the subsystem is thoroughly tested at each frequency at which noise is injected. Non-critical characteristics such as user response time and low-power modes in subsystems, which are not even visible to the user if they deviate during EMC tests, are tested thoroughly, and no deviation is allowed.

This also brings out the need to automate the process of EMC testing since a typical EMC test now takes several hours to complete. For example, an exhaustive EMC test for a capacitive sensing subsystem can take over three hours for only the conducted immunity test and over 20 hours for the whole suite of EMC tests. With mobile and Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications likely to be placed in the vicinity of the system under test (i.e., the user is carrying a mobile phone or a Wi-Fi enabled device in the car), EMC tests are stretching the frequency band for radiated immunity and emission tests beyond 5GHz.

Most EMC tests are performed in an anechoic chamber where the walls are made of absorptive material that prevent reflections of the radiated emissions. This is an ideal set-up and far from the actual environment in which an automotive subsystem resides. Hence, some automotive OEMs also use a metallic chamber or a mode-tuned reverberation chamber where intentional reflections can be directed towards the system under test. This way they can study the effect these reflections have on the functionality and immunity of the system.

As can be seen, designing an automotive electronic subsystem is becoming even more difficult, especially from a compliance viewpoint. The added challenge of keeping cost low and minimizing the ever-increasing sources of radiation makes design even more complex. Sometimes, an end user may carry a non-compliant or non-automotive grade device into the car, appreciably affecting system functionality. What’s more, this effect is difficult to detect using standard EMC tests. A common example is the peculiar audio noise heard from the infotainment system just before a non-compliant mobile phone receives an incoming call in a car.

EMC Infrastructure Challenges

The equipment used for EMC tests is expensive. Often, a typical automotive Tier-I supplier cannot justify the cost of procuring the equipment for in-house use. A common practice is to rent the premises and equipment from a certified EMC lab. However, this involves considerable cost on an hourly basis. Also, if an EMC test fails, the design engineer needs to revise the system (hardware, firmware, etc.) and repeat the test at the lab at additional cost. With the numerous Tier-I suppliers waiting for time-slots at the limited number of EMC laboratories, there is usually a considerable delay from the time the test slot is requested to the time it becomes available to the designer, further impacting the overall time to market.

One of the ways to reduce the cost and inefficiencies of working with an external lab is to use pre-compliance equipment in-house at the design site to tune the system. Pre-compliance equipment does not provide accurate measurements of the intensity, but it does provide an approximate signature of the noise spectrum that the designer can use to fine-tune the system.
Product compliance and electromagnetic compatibility for automotive electronic subsystems has become increasingly challenging over time. It is important that electronic products are designed with a focus on compliance right from the design stage. Testing can be challenging, especially with limited in-house RF expertise and testing equipment. For this reason, using compliant silicon isn’t sufficient to ensure a company will pass EMC testing for automotive subsystems. Silicon manufacturers need to actively support their silicon. While application notes can describe best practices for achieving EMC compliance, each subsystem is unique. Thus, it is important that you have access to experienced application engineers who can help you review hardware schematics and PCB layout and tune firmware parameters.


Shantanu-PrabhudesaiShantanu Prabhudesai works at Cypress Semiconductor, India as part of the global automotive applications team. His primary role at Cypress involves defining the system architecture for evaluation boards and validation platforms, including hardware-software co-design of embedded systems. His special interest is in electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) compliance for automotive end-systems, for which he is currently leading the EMC Center of Excellence at Cypress. As part of the Cypress applications team, he also engages with customers worldwide to help them achieve their EMC expectations with the use of Cypress products. Shantanu graduated in 2005 with a masters’ degree in electronics design from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

References
1. European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), http://www.etsi.org/
2. Automotive Component EMC Testing, www.ets-lindgren.com/pdf/automotivecomponentemctesting.pdf
3. Automotive Research Association of India, https://www.araiindia.com/
4. Automotive EMC Testing: CISPR 25, ISO 11452-2 and Equivalent Standards, http://incompliancemag.com/article/automotive-emc-testing-cispr-25-iso-11452-2-and-equivalent-standards/
5. Proceedings of 2012 ESA Workshop on Aerospace EMC 21‐23 May 2012, Venice, Italy. http://esaconferencebureau.com/docs/12a05_docs/programme-emc-27-april-2012.pdf?sfvrsn=2
6. Automotive Electronics Council – Component Technical Committee: http://www.aecouncil.com/AECDocuments.html

Acknowledgments
The author would like to acknowledge the information provided by two certified EMC labs, TUV Rheinland (Bangalore, India) and TUV SUV Automotive EMC lab (Detroit, Michigan, US) in terms of laboratory facilities and capabilities at their respective premises.

Can Autonomous Vehicles Absolve Human Responsibility?

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

In our rush to embrace the latest technology and take advantage of whatever benefits it offers—greater convenience, higher efficiency, improved reliability, lower cost, etc.—we must not neglect human safety.

Transportation has been a major driver of technological innovation (Figure 1) since the inventions of James Watt, the Wright Brothers and automotive pioneers Daimler and Maybach. Over the years, concerns for occupant safety have led to the development of seat belts and air bags in cars, while such things as improvements in vehicle body materials and profiles, and the deployment of reversing alarms on trucks and buses have reduced the risks of accident and injury to pedestrians, cyclists, and other road users.

Figure1A_web

Figure 1: Mankind’s need to get from one spot to another has inspired innovators from James Watt to Elon Musk [Left image: By James Eckford Lauder (1811 - 1869) (Scottish) Details of artist on Google Art Project [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; Right image: [By jurvetson (Steve Jurvetson) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

Figure 1: Mankind’s need to get from one spot to another has inspired innovators from James Watt to Elon Musk (Top image: By James Eckford Lauder (1811 - 1869) (Scottish) Details of artist on Google Art Project (Public domain), via Wikimedia Commons; Bottom image: By jurvetson (Steve Jurvetson) - CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), via Wikimedia Commons

In more recent times, the technology of artificial intelligence (AI) has started to pervade the various electronic control systems that are an integral part of modern automotive design and today’s driving experience. However, as we move from advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) to fully autonomous self-driving vehicles we need to recognize the point at which responsibility for safe operation passes from human to machine. The ethics of the autonomous functionality offered by AI in vehicles has parallels with the “three laws of robotics” science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov postulated in 1942, which mostly aimed to protect humans from harm due to the actions of any robots. In similar fashion, implementing AI in vehicles needs ethical decision-making rules to define behavior that eliminates or reduces harm to humans.

From Fighter Pilots to Car Drivers

A fighter jet represents the pinnacle of aircraft evolution in terms of its performance and complexity of operation. Consequently, fighter pilots are assisted in flying them. A comprehensive suite of artificial intelligence algorithms can control almost every aspect of their operation, enhancing the pilot’s capability while still allowing him to take control when the situation demands it. In the same way, equally powerful, game-changing AI technology in automotive applications must account for the ability to return control of the vehicle to the driver.

Within the auto industry today, many electronic technology companies are focusing on the technical needs of ADAS, developing both adaptive and predictive systems and components that will allow for better and safer driving. ADAS assists the driver or any other agent in charge of the vehicle in a number of ways: It may warn the driver or take actions to reduce risk. It may also improve safety and performance by automating some portion of the control task of operating the vehicle.

In its current state ADAS mainly functions in cooperation with the driver, i.e. by providing a human-to-machine interface, which is part of the control system of the vehicle with the human still maintaining overall responsibility for the vehicle. Over time, it is expected that developments in technology will be successful in wielding ever-greater control of the vehicle, so assistance becomes the norm and driver intervention is reduced. ADAS are ultimately expected to develop further into the kind of autonomous system that will offer the ability to respond more quickly and with greater benefits than when a human agent is in control of the vehicle.

ADAS Demands Component Solutions

The development of electronic components for ADAS, and ultimately for truly autonomous vehicles, is being undertaken by leading component manufacturers worldwide. These companies are typically already experienced in meeting the demanding performance, quality and reliability standards expected by the automotive industry. For example, ON Semiconductor provides robust, AEC-qualified, production part approval process (PPAP) capable products for automotive applications, including the NCV78763 Power Ballast and Dual LED Driver for ADAS front headlights. Freescale Semiconductor is helping to drive the world’s most innovative ADAS solutions with its automotive, MCU, analog and sensors, and digital networking portfolio expertise. The development of its latest FXTH8715 Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensors (TPMS), which integrate an 8-bit microcontroller (MCU), pressure sensor, XZ-axis or Z-axis accelerometer and RF transmitter, was driven by a market requirement for improved safety. AVX, a technology leader in the manufacture of passive electronic components, developed the VCAS & VGAS Series TransGuard® Automotive Multi-Layer Varistors (MLVs) to provide protection against automotive-related transients in ADAS applications. Delphi Connection Systems supports challenging automotive applications that demand robust design and reliability with its high-performance APEX® Series Wire Connectors.

The Dream of Vehicle Autonomy

The electronics industry has long been characterized by continual improvements in performance that come at an ever-decreasing cost. This electronics industry has allowed technology that was once the preserve of racing cars and the luxury automobile market to percolate down through mid-range vehicles to everyday family vehicles. Many people, both inside and outside the industry, now dream of a future where completely autonomous vehicles will come to dominate the world’s roads. They visualize benefits in safety, travel efficiency, comfort, and convenience in vehicles that are programmed to avoid accidents, optimize journey times and costs and maximize the functional utility of the vehicle. Clearly, amongst these, preventing injury to passengers and others as well as damage to the vehicle and property is the highest priority.

Autonomous Vehicles Require Ethical Rules

Current laws regulating road use place the responsibility for safety squarely with the human driver. He or she must ensure that other people, both inside and outside the vehicle, are protected from harm arising from his/her operation of the vehicle. While a car may be viewed as a means of getting people from point A to point B as efficiently as possible, its use at excessive speed or in a dangerous manner resulting in an accident that injures or kills a pedestrian would likely be considered a criminal offense. Indeed, the deliberate use of a vehicle to run down and kill someone would, in most cases, constitute murder.

However, these judgments are rarely black or white, and there may be mitigating circumstances, depending on the situation and people involved. Moreover, while we would not expect an autonomous vehicle to exceed speed limits or undertake dangerous maneuvers in a typical situation, there may be occasions when, like a human operator, it needs to make decisions where the outcome may be questionable. These decisions are where we need to understand the ethics involved to apply appropriate rules. This can be appreciated by considering a few hypothetical scenarios:

1. When traveling at speed in traffic, a human driver might react to an animal jumping out into the road by swerving to avoid it and, in doing so, hitting another car. As the driver, you may have saved that animal but what if the result was an accident in which other people were hurt?

2. What if, instead of an animal in the above example, it was a pedestrian who had stepped into the road and hitting them was likely to be fatal. Then the action would have saved a human life at the cost of potential injuries to the occupants of the other vehicle.”

3. An autonomously driven vehicle confronted with the same situation of a pedestrian stepping into the road might decide it cannot run over that person but may also decide it cannot swerve into another vehicle. Instead, it swerves off the road hitting a wall resulting in serious injuries to the human ‘driver’ of the car and potentially any passengers too.

In the latter situation, the human ‘driver’ is not to blame, but equally, there is an ethical dilemma as to whether any fault lies with the autonomous vehicle. Undoubtedly, as we become more reliant on technologies such as ADAS and ultimately on Autonomous Technology Systems (ATS) the responsibility for operating a vehicle becomes less dependent on the individual driver and shifts to the vehicle itself and therefore to the car manufacturer. Not surprisingly, the automotive industry will not want to accept liability for such risks unless the market recognizes this requirement and establishes an appropriate business model that makes economic sense for the manufacturers and doesn’t result in endless litigation.

Conclusion

Technological solutions are now starting to outpace the real-world situations into which they are being introduced. The deployment of artificial intelligence is challenging the status quo and forcing us to consider ethical questions about how machines should operate and who has control and is, therefore, responsible for their behavior.

This moral issue is certainly true of autonomous vehicles where ceding control to the vehicle requires AI that follows agreed ethical rules to protect human life. If we are to benefit from improved transportation systems with greater freedom, flexibility, efficiency, and safety, then it is society as a whole rather than design engineers and vehicle manufacturers that have to face up to this challenge and take on this responsibility.


Photo-RudyRamos_webRudy Ramos is the Project Manager for the Technical Content Marketing team at Mouser Electronics, accountable for the timely delivery of the Application and Technology sites from concept to completion. He has 30 years of experience working with electromechanical systems, manufacturing processes, military hardware, and managing domestic and international technical projects. He holds an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management with a concentration in Project Management. Prior to Mouser, he worked for National Semiconductor and Texas Instruments. Ramos may be reached at rudy.ramos@mouser.com

Texas Instruments expands Bluetooth low energy portfolio with more available memory, Bluetooth 5 compatibility and automotive qualification

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Delivering more available memory, Bluetooth 5-ready hardware, automotive qualification and an ultra-small wafer-chip-scale package (WCSP) option, Texas Instruments announced two devices in its scalable SimpleLink Bluetooth low energy wireless microcontroller (MCU) family. The devices continue to feature advanced integration including a complete single-chip hardware and unified software solution with an ARM Cortex-M3 based MCU, automatic power management, highly flexible full-featured Bluetooth-compliant radio and a low-power sensor controller. For more information, visit www.ti.com/bluetoothlowenergy.
New TI Bluetooth low energy solutions
• Enhance your Internet of Things (IoT) applications with the new SimpleLink CC2640R2F wireless MCU which offers more available memory for richer, more responsive and high-performance applications. The device comes in a tiny 2.7×2.7 mm chip-scale package (WCSP) option that is less than half the size of TI’s smallest 4×4 mm QFN package, yet still delivers the longest range with the lowest power consumption. The new CC2640R2F is ready for the Bluetooth 5 core specification which offers longer range, higher speed and more data for enhanced connection-less applications in building automation, medical, commercial and industrial automation.
• Hit the road with the SimpleLink CC2640R2F-Q1 wireless MCU that enables smartphone connectivity for car access including passive entry passive start (PEPS) and remote keyless entry (RKE), as well as emerging automotive use cases with AEC-Q100 qualification and Grade 2 temperature rating. Additionally, the CC2640R2F-Q1 device is the industry’s first solution to be offered in a wettable flank QFN package which helps reduce production line cost and increases reliability enabled by optical inspection of solder points.
These additions – along with more processing power, more security and even more memory coming later in 2017 – will allow developers to quickly and easily reuse their project across pin- and code-compatible ultra-low-power CC264x wireless MCUs as application demands grow and change. The scalable SimpleLink CC264x wireless MCU family will enable product optimizations based on size, system cost and application requirements rather than using a one-size fits all solution. Additionally, the CC264x family is supported by a unified software and application development environment, royalty-free BLE-Stack software, Code Composer Studio integrated development environment (IDE), system software and interactive training materials.
Get ready for Bluetooth 5
Bluetooth 5 is coming with longer range, higher speeds and increased broadcasting capacity, making it a great wireless RF protocol for low-power, mobile personal networks and remote controls as well as longer-range building and IoT networks. The SimpleLink CC2640R2F wireless MCUs’ highly flexible radio fully supports these new Bluetooth 5 specifications and the accompanying software stacks will be available in the first half of 2017, making it among the first devices in mass production with Bluetooth 5 capability.
Automotive connectivity
Built upon the CC2640R2F wireless MCU, which offers the longest range with the lowest power, the CC2640R2F-Q1 wireless MCU brings best-in-class RF to the automotive market. For car access and emerging applications such as assisted parking, car sharing and in-car cable replacement, the new AEC-Q100-qualified device will support Bluetooth 5 in the second half of 2017.

Contact Information

Texas Instruments

12500 TI Boulevard
Dallas, TX, 75243
United States

tele: 972-644-5580
support@ti.com
www.ti.com

Dialog Semiconductor Powers Next-Generation Connected Cars

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Dialog Semiconductor plc, a provider of power management, AC/DC power conversion, solid state lighting (SSL) and Bluetooth low energy technology, today announced the DA9210-A power management IC (PMIC). The DA9210-A is a multiphase, automotive grade, 12A DC-DC buck converter that supplies the high current core rails of microprocessor devices, including those used in next generation infotainment systems taking center stage in today’s connected cars.

DA9210-A is designed to meet the stringent functional, quality and reliability demands of automakers and their customers. It is optimized for the supply of CPUs and GPUs, and can support load currents of up to 12A in single-chip configuration and 24A in dual parallel configuration. The PMIC’s efficiency over a wide output range makes it suitable for powering some of the new, demanding innovations of today’s connected cars, from infotainment and navigation systems to full-scale integrated cockpits and future heads-up displays (HUDs).

The DA9210-A is the second generation of its predecessor, the DA9210 buck converter, which is successfully sold today into the high-volume smartphone market. The automotive-grade version of the converter has been well received by manufacturers, which can now take advantage of its proven capabilities to enable infotainment systems in connected vehicles.

Accepting input voltages from 2.8 to 5.5 VDC, the DA9210-A delivers an output voltage between 0.3 and 1.57V, with ±2.5% output voltage accuracy. It features 3MHz nominal switching frequency to minimize external component height and reduce solution footprint, adjustable soft start, and is designed to operate between -40 and +85 C. The DA9210-A is fully AEC-Q100 grade 3 qualified, comes in a 42 WL-CSP package and is available now.

Contact Information

Top 5 Vendors in the Automotive Ethernet Market from 2017 to 2021: Technavio

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Technavio has announced the top five leading vendors in their recent global automotive Ethernet market report. This research report also lists three other prominent vendors that are expected to impact the market during the forecast period.

The overabundance of sensors installed in the modern-day vehicles has led to the development of complex safety systems. As a result, this brings in a challenge of its own where the conventional wiring harnesses and connectors are incompetent to support the bandwidth requirements owing to high-speed data transmission. Emphasizing on this, OEMs are investing in the development of networking technologies that involves light-weight materials at low cost and higher bandwidth limit.

BroadR-Reach Ethernet is a technology designed to overcome electromagnetic interference as it uses a single twisted pair of unshielded copper wires, thus resulting in cost reduction of approximately 80% and weight reduction of 20% as compared with technologies such as low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS).

Competitive vendor landscape
“The global automotive Ethernet market is catered by many players. Broadcom catered to the major OEMs as of 2016. Other players also have significant share and are also into development of the next generation automotive Ethernet. Broadcom offers the BroadR-Reach Ethernet Technology used for automotive Ethernet. The technology was later licensed and made open source by OPEN Alliance,” says Neelam Barua, a lead automotive electronics analyst from Technavio.

The top five automotive Ethernet market vendors are:

Broadcom
Broadcom is an American semiconductor company, which is mainly involved in the manufacture of networking devices. Its product portfolio includes integrated circuits, cable converter box, wireless networks, Gigabit Ethernet, cable modems, network switches, VoIP, and other devices. The company has four business segments: wireless communications, enterprise storage, wired infrastructure, and industrial and others segments.

Marvell
Marvell is a leading manufacturer of storage and semiconductor devices. The company has divided its business into following segments: storage, mobile and wireless, networking, and others.

Microchip Technology
Microchip Technology is an American semiconductor manufacturing company. The company is a leading supplier of microcontrollers and analog and flash IP solutions. It manufactures microcontrollers, memory devices, and analog devices. The business is divided into following segments: microcontroller, analog, interface and mixed signal product, memory products and technology licensing.

NXP Semiconductors
NXP Semiconductors is a Dutch semiconductor company and is the fifth largest non-storage semiconductor supplier of the world. It provides an extensive portfolio of products that are segregated into 10 categories: discrete and logic, identification and security, interface and connectivity, media and audio processing, microprocessors and microcontrollers, power management, radio frequency, sensors, software and tools, and system solutions.

Toshiba
Toshiba is a Japanese conglomerate, which is into manufacturing of electronics, semiconductors, social infrastructure, computer hardware, medical equipment, home appliances, electrical equipment, official equipment, and elevators and escalators.

Contact Information

technavio

110 E. Schiller, #208
Elmhurst, IL,
U.S.A.

tele: 1 630 333 9501
fax: 1 630 333 9501
americas@technavio.com

Thales selects Rogue Wave Software Klocwork as static code analysis tool

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Rogue Wave Software, the largest independent provider of cross-platform software development tools and embedded components, announces that Thales in the UK has selected Klocwork as its static code analysis tool.

“Because of Klocwork we have increased confidence in our code, the desktop analysis features will reduce costs associated with fixing errors further down the line. Therefore, we are able to get products to the market faster, and can adhere to internal and external compliance,” says Jack Cunningham, director of software engineering for Thales in the UK.

With the help of Klocwork, Thales continues to make people, property, transport and information safer and more secure. Protecting vital data and proving standards compliance is important for any system. The focus on the convergence of military and civil technologies for both domestic and export markets makes the requirements for Thales nothing short of mission-critical.

“Unlike any other static code analysis tool, Klocwork supports standards compliance for MISRA, OWASP, CWE, DISA STIG, CERT, SAMATE, and FDA and is ISO 26262 certified,” says Ian McLeod, chief product officer at Rogue Wave Software. “We pride ourselves on providing mission and safety-critical companies with the tools they need to confidently release software.”

Klocwork is used extensively to support the globally-recognized MISRA coding standards, a mandatory requirement in automotive systems. MISRA is now being adopted for safety critical systems by companies in all industry and Thales UK will employ Klocwork to ensure that its code satisfies both MISRA C++:2008 and MISRA C:2012 along with its internal code standards.


About Thales

Thales is a global technology leader for the Aerospace, Transport, Defence and Security markets. With 62,000 employees in 56 countries, Thales reported sales of €14 billion in 2015. With over 22,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design and deploy equipment, systems and services to meet the most complex security requirements. Its exceptional international footprint allows it to work closely with its customers all over the world.

About Rogue Wave Software

Rogue Wave provides software development tools for mission-critical applications. Our trusted solutions address the growing complexity of building great software, and accelerates the value gained from code across the enterprise. The Rogue Wave portfolio of complementary, cross-platform tools helps developers quickly build applications for strategic software initiatives. With Rogue Wave, customers improve software quality and ensure code integrity, while shortening development cycle times.

Contact Information

Rogue Wave Software, Inc.

1315 West Century Drive
Suite 150
Louisville, CO, 80027
USA

tele: 1.800.487.3217
fax: 1.800.487.3217
info@roguewave.com

Rogue Wave Software acquires API management leader Akana

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

API economy drives software development and business logic access

Rogue Wave Software announces it has acquired Akana, a leader in developing, managing, and securing application programming interfaces (APIs). As businesses look to further connect with their partners and customers, strength in API governance, integration, and ease of accessing legacy applications are increasingly part of the digital transformation.

According to The API Management Solutions Market Will Quadruple By 2020 As Business Goes Digital, a Forrester blog by Michael Yamnitsky: “Often considered the poster child of digital transformation, APIs are proliferating at enterprises making industry-leading investments in mobile, IoT, and big data. As these initiatives mature, CIOs, CTOs, and heads of development are coming together with business leaders to manage and secure companywide use of APIs using API management solutions.”

Rogue Wave CEO Brian Pierce explains the fit, “Today’s announcement builds on our commitment to software development, and extends these critical applications into web, mobile, and IoT. APIs are the business interfaces, so the ability to manage and govern their use fits squarely with our product capabilities. Akana mirrors the needs in our enterprise customer base and furthers our mission to accelerate great code.”

Recently, Akana was named a Leader by Forrester Research, Inc. in its new report, “The Forrester Wave™: API Management Solutions, Q4 2016.” APIs drive business, making API management a critical component of business strategy.

The flagship Akana API platform is available in three editions to meet scale and security requirements, with enterprise-class features, including:

  • API management – Infrastructure and tools to orchestrate API relationships
  • API design – Specifications outlined to focus on design
  • API security – Rapidly and consistently applied policies
  • Mediation and integration – Quick creation of modern, well-structured APIs from legacy assets and multiple backend sources
  • API traffic management – Complete control over traffic, including alerts and SLA enforcement

Akana is available as a SaaS platform, on-premises, and as a hybrid deployment. This acquisition is highly complementary to the 2015 Zend acquisition, fueling web and mobile development, including API development. For further inquiries, please contact Amanda Boughey, content communications manager.


About Rogue Wave Software

Rogue Wave provides software development tools for mission-critical applications. Our trusted solutions address the growing complexity of building great software, and accelerates the value gained from code across the enterprise. The Rogue Wave portfolio of complementary, cross-platform tools helps developers quickly build applications for strategic software initiatives. With Rogue Wave, customers improve software quality and ensure code integrity, while shortening development cycle times.

Contact Information

Rogue Wave Software, Inc.

1315 West Century Drive
Suite 150
Louisville, CO, 80027
USA

tele: 1.800.487.3217
fax: 1.800.487.3217
info@roguewave.com

Wolfspeed Introduces New SiC MOSFET for EV Drive Trains

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

Wolfspeed, a Cree Company and a leader in silicon carbide (SiC) power products, has introduced a 900V, 10mΩ MOSFET rated for 196 A of continuous drain current at a case temperature of 25̊̊ C. This device enables the reduction of EV drive-train inverter losses by 78 percent based on EPA combined city/highway mileage standards. This efficiency improvement offers designers new options in terms of range, battery usage and vehicle design.
Recently Wolfspeed supplied Ford Motor Company―in a collaboration with the U.S. DoE―with a full-SiC, 400A power module designed around the 900V, 10mΩ chip. The module, designed and produced by Wolfspeed, contains four MOSFETs connected in parallel to achieved a remarkable 2.5mΩ Rds(on). Wolfspeed engineers have since demonstrated the capability to use these chips to create an 800A, 1.25mΩ module.
“With the commercial release of the 900V 10mΩ device, electric vehicles can now reap the benefits of SiC in all aspects of their power conversion,” said John Palmour, CTO of Wolfspeed. “With the continued expansion of our Gen3 MOSFET portfolio in new package options, our devices can now support significant efficiency improvements in onboard chargers, offboard chargers, and now EV drive trains.”
Commercially qualified and rated for a maximum operating temperature of 175˚C, Wolfspeed’s new chip offers high-reliability in harsh environments, like those found in vehicle drive-trains.
Device Information
The new 900V, 10mΩ MOSFET is available in bare die, is listed as part number CPM3-0900-0010A, and is currently available for purchase from SemiDice. Wolfspeed expects to release the associated discrete device in a 4L-TO247 package (C3M0010090K) in the coming weeks. This package has a Kelvin-source connection that allows engineers to create designs that maximize the benefits of SiC’s superior speed and efficiency.

Contact Information

Cree


toll-free: 866-924-3645
www.cree.com

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