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Infineon steers toward automotive electronics

Posted: 09 Jul 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:flexray? flexray? communication systems? automotive electronics? microcontroller?

Seeking to broaden its involvement in automotive electronics, chip maker Infineon Technologies AG is joining two important automotive technology groups, the FlexRay consortium and the Autosar group.

The FlexRay consortium is developing fault-tolerant communication systems for automobiles. Infineon claims wide experience with time-triggered communication networks used in auto applications. Infineon also disclosed this week that it joined the Autosar technology development group in May.

"The growing electronic content of modern vehicles and their increasing complexity as well as growing demand for deterministic, safe communication at high bandwith makes globally-accepted standards like the ones pursued by Autosar and Flexray an absolute must," said Reinhard Ploss, head of Infineon's automotive and industry electronics division.

"We aim for the support of standards," added marketing VP Anton Mueller. "Autosar is [seeking] hardware-independent functional software. That's where we would like to contribute."

The semiconductor manufacturer wants to focus on standard software needed for Autosar's architecture. After defining the specifications, Infineon wants to supply the software for its line of 16- and 32-bit microcontrollers.

"For our success it is absolutely essential that semiconductor manufacturers like Infineon to participate," said Harald Heinecke, an Autosar spokesman and general manager of BMWs System Architecture Electric/Electronic Department.

With growing support from chipmakers, the initial implementation of the software standard is expected to be ready by mid-2005. Production could begin by 2008, Heinecke said.

According to Mueller, hardware and software issues are being addressed in tandem by FlexRay and Autosar. "FlexRay is a standardizing effort for a hardware bus system while Autosar defines the software interfaces," he said.

Besides Infineon, Motorola Inc. chip spinoff Freescale is a key member of Autosar. The group's cofounder, Robert Bosch GmbH, is a "core member," meaning its part of the inner circle that runs the group.

Italian automotive electronics company Magneti Marelli is also joining Autosar along with car makers Nissan Motor Co. of Japan and Renault of France.

- Christoph Hammerschmidt

EE Times Germany

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