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Power Architecture MCUs gear up for automotive

Posted: 04 Jul 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Power Architecture MCUs? 90nm? automotive designs? flash memory? Controller Area Network?


Freescale Semiconductor has expanded its portfolio of Power Architecture MCUs to address a broad range of cost-sensitive automotive applications requiring 32bit performance. The company has introduced three automotive MCU families optimized for safety, chassis, instrument cluster, body electronics and gateway designs.

Manufactured on 90nm technology, the three Power Architecture MCU families were developed collaboratively with STMicroelectronics as part of a joint design program initiated in January 2006. Based on the e200 Power Architecture core, the MCU products share a common hardware and software ecosystem, which enables system designers to streamline the development process by reusing code and development tools.

"Power Architecture technology is becoming the de facto 32bit standard for the global automotive market as the core architecture continues to gain traction in application segments that require exceptional performance and scalability," said Paul Grimme, senior VP and general manager of Freescale's microcontroller solutions group. "The three advanced product families are optimized for computationally demanding applications that will help make the next generation of automobiles safer, more affordable and driver-friendly."

Chassis, safety control solutions
Freescale's MPC560xP MCU family is designed to help automotive developers replace bulky hydraulic and mechanical components with lightweight electrical systems that draw power only as needed. Increased use of electrical systems in automotive designs helps reduce vehicle weight and contributes to improved fuel efficiency, as well as reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The MPC560xP family is designed to benefit automotive chassis and safety applications, such as stability control, electric power steering and braking, as well as hybrid powertrain systems.

The MPC560xP devices feature fast ADC controllers and high-precision timers that work in concert for efficient field-oriented control of electric motors. An on-chip cross triggering unit enhances system efficiency and reduces system cost by managing sample timing, which offloads the MCU core from frequent interrupts. The high-resolution 120MHz PWM module supports key motor control features, such as dead-time insertion, dead-time distortion correction and advanced fault shutdown.

The automotive industry trend to replace mechanical systems with electromechanical systems is driving the need for electronic components to meet higher safety standards. The MPC560xP family helps automotive designers implement systems that address key functional safety requirements, such as IEC61508. Integrated features, such as an on-chip fault collection unit, are designed to enhance the visibility of MCU status. SRAM and flash memory include error correction coding (ECC) capabilities. An on-chip temperature sensor and clock monitor help detect system-level conditions. The MPC560xP family also supports the FlexRay networking protocol, which is engineered to enable robust, redundant in-vehicle communications at up to 10x the speed of other protocols.

Instrument cluster control
The MPC560xS MCU family is designed to address the next wave of automotive instrument cluster applications using color TFT displays. Once limited to high-end vehicles, TFT displays are growing more prevalent in low-end to mid-range vehicles. The MPC560xS product family addresses the system requirements of entry-level, yet sophisticated, instrument cluster applications with a cost-effective, single-chip solution that directly drives the TFT display. The MPC560xS devices not only are designed to support TFT displays in automotive dashboards, they also can drive analog gauges and LCDs.

The MPC560xS MCUs feature a sophisticated, integrated display control unit (DCU) designed to drive TFT LCD displays in up to WQVGA. Internal memory resources easily handle complex graphics contents (pictures, icons, languages, fonts) on a color TFT panel. Graphical content on screen sizes of up to half VGA (HVGA) can be addressed by expanding the memory using a quad SPI (QuadSPI) for serial flash memory. The MPC560xS family provides a scalable solution, with 1Mbyte flash sizes sampling now, as well as larger and smaller flash versions that are planned for the future.

Body electronics, gateway apps
Freescale's MPC560xB MCU family is designed to provide exceptional price/performance for use in central body controllers, gateways, comfort features (doors, seats, interior lighting), security/safety features (passive entry systems, immobilizers, tire pressure monitoring systems) and lighting control systems (headlights, brake lights, turn lights).

The MPC560xB MCUs include on-chip modules for Controller Area Network and Local Interconnect Network communications, in addition to other peripherals necessary to implement a wide range of functionality in automotive body networks. Starting with a 512Kbyte version, the MPC560xB family will have a wide range of flash memory options, enabling developers to migrate to higher performance solutions. The MCUs include an instruction set enhancement allowing variable length encoding for code size reduction. Encoding of mixed 16bit and 32bit instructions enables developers to achieve significant code size reduction for body applications.

Samples of MPC560xP, MPC560xS and MPC560xB family MCUs are planned to be available to lead automotive customers throughout 2008.

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