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32bit MCUs drive safety applications in cars

Posted: 12 Oct 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:microcontroller? automotive? MCU? car electronics?

Freescale, ST dual-core MCU

Freescale Semiconductor and STMicroelectronics announce a jointly-developed dual-core microcontroller family aimed at functional safety applications for car electronics. The 32bit devices address the challenge of applying sophisticated safety concepts to comply with current and future safety standards. The dual-core MCU family touts features that help engineers focus on application design and simplify the challenges of safety concept development and certification.

Based on the industry-leading 32bit Power Architecture technology, the dual-core MCU family, part-numbered SPC56EL at ST and MPC564xL at Freescale, is suitable for a wide range of automotive safety applications including electric power steering for improved vehicle efficiency, active suspension for improved dynamics and ride performance, anti-lock braking systems and radar for adaptive cruise control.

The dual-core MCU family resulted from the two companies' joint development program. The devices are designed specifically to address the requirements of the IEC 61508 and ISO 26262 safety standards that are being applied to the growing number of safety-critical systems in road vehicles.

"The increasing importance of safety systems in cars, including advanced driver assistance and vehicle dynamics control, strengthens the need for more reliable and robust electronics," said Paul Grimme, corporate VP and general manager of ST's automotive product group. "The dual-core ST-Freescale turnkey solution, designed to comply with the new ISO and IEC standards, is set to accelerate the development of next-generation, high-performance automotive safety applications."

The single-chip MCUs combine two high-performance cores with up to 1Mbyte of flash memory and an optimized peripheral set for safety and motor-control applications (supporting control of up to two brushless 3-phase motors). The dual-core architecture reduces the need for duplication of components at a system level, and therefore lowers overall system costs.

"This jointly developed technology will enable faster development and validation of advanced safety systems," said Reza Kazerounian, senior VP and general manager of Freescale's microcontroller solutions group. "The advanced dual-core MCU family provides critical technology that will help global automakers, tier one suppliers and our development partners meet the exacting requirements of advanced safety systems and enable them to develop truly innovative products."

The dual-core architecture also provides unique flexibility by allowing the user to select lockstep or dual parallel processing (independent core operation) modes, enabling support of multiple safety architectures that the user can configure to achieve the required balance between safety and performance level.

Initiated in February 2006, the ST-Freescale joint development program has been accelerating innovation in the automotive industry by developing MCU products that provide high levels of power and enhanced intelligence in many segments of car electronics. Customers have benefited from faster product and technology design and innovation and a real dual-source environment for critical, leading-edge components.

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