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Utilising FRAMs in automotive applications

Posted: 21 Jul 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:FRAMs? Ferroelectric random access memory? nonvolatile? Event Data Recorders? EEPROM?

FRAMs can be used for nonvolatile data logging in most automotive sub systems such as smart airbags, stability control, power train, dashboard instrumentation, battery management, engine controls and infotainment applications. AEC-Q100 qualified FRAMs are built to bear the extended grade temperatures under the hood.

Ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM) has been successfully deployed in high-reliability applications such as industrial control systems, industrial automation systems, mission critical space applications, and high reliability military applications. FRAMs have been proven to be a trusted and reliable nonvolatile memory technology and are serving in most of these applications for more than 20 years. High performance and high reliability, AEC-Q100 qualified automotive FRAMs are qualified for Grade-3 (-40 C to +85 C) and Grade-1 (-40 C to +125 C) automotive applications. High reliability of FRAM cells and almost infinite (100 trillion) write cycles makes FRAM one of the best fits for all next-generation automotive applications that offer high fuel efficiency, enhanced safety features, high-end automation, and controls.

FRAMs can be used for nonvolatile data logging in most automotive sub systems such as smart airbags, stability control, power train, dashboard instrumentation, battery management, engine controls and infotainment applications. AEC-Q100 qualified FRAMs are built to bear the extended grade temperatures under the hood.

This technical article discusses the use of FRAM in Automotive Event Data Recorders.

What is an EDR in automotive?
An Automotive Event Data Recorder or EDR is in some ways similar to the data recorders used in airplanes and trains. EDRs are also known as automotive "Black Boxes" or "Crash Recorders". EDRs were originally designed to capture and record the data from different control modules within an automotive unit and use the captured data for analysis to improve the airbag performance in the next design. Data captured by the EDR includes severity of collision by measuring force of impact, vehicle speed, engine RPMs, steering input, throttle position, braking status, seat belt status, air-pressure in tyres, warning signals, and finally the airbag deployment.

Figure 1: Example of a car crash.

The EDR records the length of data for a few seconds before, during, and after a crash for the purpose of monitoring and accessing vehicle safety system performance. The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) states that this data can provide valuable information on severity of crash and can be used to diagnose whether or not the vehicle was operating properly at the time of crash. Information stored in EDRs is also used in finding the major cause of accidents that, in turn, helps auto manufactures in innovating and deploying more advanced safety systems. EDR data also helps government agencies and road construction companies take appropriate safety precautions at the time of highway construction so that construction defects /negligence can be minimised and fatal accidents can be avoided.

How does an EDR work?
The following key features are required in an EDR: Accuracy, Collection, Storage, Survivability and Retrievability.

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