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Best tech devices at Electronica 2014

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Electronica? IoT? sensors? microcontrollers? ADAS?

Every two years in Munich, electronics industry players gather for Electronica, which gives us a useful snapshot of the health of the overall business.

The 50th year of Electronica since its launch in 1964 saw a return to pre-recession levels of activity73,000 visitors, 50 per cent from outside Germany, was back to the 2008 figureup 1,000 on the 2012 show and the 70,000 figure of 2010. More than 2,737 exhibitors were up a couple of hundred on previous years and approaching the peak of 2008.

Walking the floors shows a clear split in the popularity of certain sectors. While test-and-measurement and contract manufacturing were more popular than the halls full of passive components, the three halls of semiconductors were heaving. From wireless to automotive to controllers, with a huge dash of local and global distributors, the silicon halls saw a distinct rebound in interest from two and four years ago, marking the current strength of the semiconductor cycle.

Electronica 2014

The 50th year of Electronica in Munich saw visitor levels back to the pre-2008 peak. (Source: Deutsche Messe)

The Internet of Things may have been a constant refrain, bringing together sensors, wireless, and microcontrollers, but so was automotive with exactly the same combination...

NXP's vehicle communications

The opportunities for advanced driver assisted systems (ADAS) were a major element of this year's Electronica. A test corridor from Belgium through France and down into Germany has been set up to test a wide range of telematics systems, and NXP was demonstrating its smart vehicle-to-infrastructure (v2i) communications systems at the show.

V2i technology

NXP demonstrates its vehicle-to-infrastructure (v2i) technology, replicating a roadside sign inside the car. (Source: EE Times, Nick Flaherty)

The v2i approach tackles some of the challenges faced by vision systems in vehicles in a different way. Instead of trying to recognise a sign, the sign can send its data to the car. Similarly, an image recognition system on a crossing can detect a pedestrian and flag that to a coming car. Meanwhile vehicle-to-vehicle (v2v) links can highlight obstructions and traffic problems up to 2km ahead, reducing the load on local sensors in the car.

This is a key step in the development of autonomous, self-driving vehicles, and the frequency bands and protocols for such systems have been agreed in the United States, Europe and Japan, so the next stage is the implementation.

Developed with Cohda Wireless of Australia, the NXP solution consists of three chips. A flexible RF front-end transceiver with a software defined radio (SDR) architecture for all the different communications modes is driven by a base band chip based on a customised digital signal processing core from Tensilica.

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