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Jazz up in-vehicle entertainment network

Posted: 16 Jan 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:microcontrollers? automotive electronics? IDB-1394?

The number of MCUs built into new vehicles grows annually, as electronic content of cars, trucks and SUVs increases. A range of 8-, 32- and 16bit MCUs serve critical functions such as braking and lighting systems, information displays and video entertainment capabilities. As costs come down and automakers and their tier one suppliers seek differentiation and performance improvements, the trend will continue.

Controllers based on established standards such as CAN and LIN are being improved constantly. New MCUs now support triple CAN connectivity for engine and body control applicationswith up to six CAN channels on the highest-end 32bit controllers. They also support interconnections with LIN for seating, dashboard, and other passenger-comfort functions. Last year, the FlexRay standard emerged in its first applications, adding redundancy and quality of service in mission-critical systems. FlexRay is being implemented in tandem with established standards including CAN. But over the intermediate and longer termand perhaps sooner than expectedFlexRay will replace CAN in most automotive systems.

Other factors that boost MCU performance include the addition of flash memory and the availability of low power MCUs that meet automotive specifications for wide temperature ranges. Designers now have many options and capabilities to choose from, and in many cases, fully integrated solutions are available.

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