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Mentor making automotive EDA push

Posted: 10 Oct 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mentor graphics? mentor? eda? systemvision?

Looking to push its widely acknowledged lead in the automotive EDA space, Mentor Graphics Corp. Thursday (Oct. 6) announced a major new automotive design push.

Mentor (Wilsonville, Ore.) is extending its automotive offerings and launching what it called a comprehensive set of electrical and electronic design solutions for the automotive market.

Incorporating SystemVision, a new modeling and simulation tool for automotive mechatronics sub-systems, as well as technology from its May acquisition of Volcano Communications Technologies, Mentor is now offering a full suite of tools for design and analysis of the electrical distribution system and its associated harnesses, for embedded system/software and for in-vehicle network design, the company said.

According to Larry Anderson, director of marketing for Mentor's automotive networking business unit, the company is packaging together its established and acquired technology alongside its proven Capital Harness Systems cabling and wiring harness product in order to provide a comprehensive solution for automotive electrical/electronic design.


"We feel there are a lot of things that we solved in other industries and we are bringing that technology in to complement cabling and wiring harness," Anderson said.

Daya Nadamuni, Gartner Dataquest senior analyst, applauded Mentor's move, saying that the company is leveraging different tools acquired over the years to offer a comprehensive solution that addresses the needs of the automotive industry.

Nadamuni said the auto industry has grown serious about electrical automation because of the increasing electronic content of cars and a large proportion of automotive recalls in the past three years due to software issues.

"The key is that the methodology has got to change, including design methodologies, practices and tools," Nadamuni said. "A lot has to change within the auto supply chains if they are to meet the two goals of quality/reliability and cost."

EDA executives have been talking up the market potential of automotive EDA in recent months. In July, Mentor Chairman and CEO Walden Rhines singled out automotive EDA as a bright spot while announcing disappointing second quarter bookings, saying it has the potential to generate a "major new wave of growth for EDA." Cadence Design Systems Inc. President and CEO Michael Fister included the auto industry as one of the "adjacent" industries with potential to generate EDA revenue during Cadence's CDNLive! user conference last month, saying that Cadence would introduce an automotive methodology kit in the future.

Veteran EDA analyst Erach Desai of Desaisive Technology Research (Hingham, Mass.) recently told EE Times that EDA companies could face stiff competition in the automotive space from mechanical computer aided design (CAD) companies such as Parametric Technology Corp. (PTC) and Autodesk, which are heavily entrenched in automotive mechanical design and could aspire to own the market for automotive electrical design tools.

Martin O'Brien, general manager of Mentor's integrated electrical systems division, said while all companies involved in automotive design aspire to own a larger slice of the complete pie, EDA and mechanical CAD companies know that they most work together and cooperate in order to succeed.

"We compete at one level, but we already know we have to sit in the same bed together," O'Brien said.

"I believe that that domain expertise will preclude the MCAD and [product data management] vendors form getting more involved in this space," Anderson said. "But we will need tight alliances with MCAD vendors."

Mentor said SystemVision enables the system designer to model systems and components with a virtual prototype and use simulation to perform the critical analyses of electrical, mechanical, thermal and hydraulic sub-systems needed to help ensure successful automotive system design.

SystemVision is based on VHDL-AMS, a vendor-independent standard language that enables efficient information exchange between original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers, Mentor said.

SystemVision is fully integrated with Mentor's Capital Harness Systems and complements its electrical analysis tool, Capital Analysis, according to Mentor. SystemVision is available now and priced ranging from $9,000 $38,000.

Mentor said it completes its automotive solution with its "design to deployment" embedded software products. The Nucleus family of embedded software products offers an integrated developers' toolkit, ranging from UML high-level design tools through to the royalty-free real-time operating system (RTOS) and middleware specifically targeted to automotive applications and processors, the company said.

Mentor pledged to continue to expand its offerings to the automotive industry as the growth of in-vehicle electronics and software continues. The company said it intends to become the preferred source of electronic/electrical design automation for the automotive industry.

Mentor also announced that the company is now a premium member of Autosar, the standards organization working to create an open standard for automotive engineering architecture.

In a related announcement, Mentor said Thursday that Magneti Marelli Powertrain S.p.A. has integrated Mentor tools, including SystemVision, into its application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) development flow to achieve a 30 percent reduction in design and simulation time.

"Magneti Marelli's Powertrain Division reduced development time for its engine control custom design flow by 30 percent using SystemVision and ModelSim, and achieved a full running component in the first release," said Edoardo Martelli, methodology manager of R&D hardware development at Magneti Marelli, in a statement.

Magneti Marelli is engaged in the design and production of high-tech components and systems for the automotive industry.

- Dylan McGrath

EE Times

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