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32bit MCUs enable improved performance in automotive apps

Posted: 19 Jun 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:32bit MCU? automotive application? microcontroller?

Power Architecture MCUs

STMicroelectronics has released four MCUs in four new Power Architecture families enabling integrators to use the 32bit MCU core throughout powertrain, car body, chassis and safety, and instrumentation systems. The new devices will support advanced functions, enable improved vehicle performance and economy, and deliver savings in development by promoting hardware and software reuse.

All the devices combine the scalable e200-core 32bit Power Architecture with an application-optimized peripheral set and plentiful embedded flash memory, to increase integration, maximize design reuse, shorten time to market and reduce costs. Advanced 90nm fabrication enables a high-performance, cost-effective solution.

"Automotive systems such as network-management comfort and security are now ready for the high-performance 32bit Power Architecture," said Domenico Bille, general manager of ST's car body division. "By providing application-optimized platforms that enable engineers to maximize investment in software and hardware development, ST's new MCUs will accelerate delivery of greater performance and value to end users."

The MCU families are the product of ST's joint-development program with Freescale Semiconductor. Claimed to be the first true dual-source 32bit MCUs serving the automotive marketplace, the devices increase security of delivery for OEMs. In the past, customers have typically accepted the overhead of working with two different suppliers with two different solutions on board, to avoid supply shortages.

For engine-management and powertrain applications, ST has introduced the SPC563M family, optimized to control robotized transmission systems or 4-cylinder gasoline engines and featuring on-chip memories with up to 1.5Mbyte embedded flash. With a dedicated coprocessor to offload CPU and integrated DSP capability, SPC563M devices enable tight emissions controls. Overall system cost savings are achieved, thanks to a wide range of enhancements, such as knock-detection integration and very high IO availability in QFP packages. The first available product is the SPC563M60 with 1Mbyte flash, available in QFP144 and BGA208 packages with future extensions in QFP100 and QFP176 packages.

The SPC560B family of products is targeted to cover car-body applications ranging from body peripherals such as seat modules, to central body controllers and all the way up to communication gateways. With a planned memory range from 128Kbyte to 2Mbyte of flash, the devices feature specific enhancements for many applications. These enhancements include a high-resolution ADC for sensorless positioning, a hardware module to generate control signals for multiple power devices such as lamp drivers, sophisticated power-saving modes and a large number of communication interfaces. The devices support robust EEPROM emulation techniques, leading to further cost-saving potential. The first available product is the SPC560B50, which carries 512Kbyte flash and is available in LQFP100 and LQFP144 package configurations. The complete family offers packages from LQFP64 to LQFP176.

The SPC560P family offers a road map aimed to cover the full range of converging applications in the chassis and safety area by focusing on compatibility, performance and safety. As the first device in this family the SPC560P50 comes with 512Kbyte flash memory and features high serial connectivity, integrated safety features, and DMA and CRC units to allow efficient and safe processing of data as required in complex airbag systems. This device is now available in a choice of LQFP144 or LQFP100 packages with future extensions in smaller packages. In addition, an advanced motor-control unit, supporting field-oriented 3-phase motor control and requiring no CPU intervention, supports the increasing numbers of in-vehicle systems featuring electric motors. This enables a platform approach to systems design, saving repeated duplication of development effort. To aid development of next-generation networked chassis systems, the SPC560P range also includes a dual-channel FlexRay controller.

The fourth family, the SPC560S covers the full range of instrument cluster applications, including the growing market for TFT-display dashboards. The first family member is the SPC560S60, which features a four-plane display control unit with on-chip graphical memories. This MCU successfully enables a single-chip solution for systems typically demanding four or more individual components. All devices of the family will also offer a standard peripherals set, such as analog gauge drivers with zero position detection and diagnostic, LCD interfaces and sound channels. The on-chip graphics memory can be extended with external components thanks to a low pin-count quad-SPI interface. The device is announced in LQFP144 and LQFP176 and will be available in the future with wider memory and package options as well as further enhanced graphical processing capabilities.

All of the new families are designed from the outset to support the latest automotive standards, including the Automotive Open System Architecture and FlexRay high-performance vehicle networking. Modern power-management techniques are also catered for including direct standby-power management, which saves an additional secondary controller and thereby delivers further cost, power consumption and size savings.

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