The same semiconductor fabs that existed for years can still make consumer, automotive, industrial, military, and aerospace devices, but as cars get more sophisticated, the need to handle more automotive functions and smarter semiconductors means either more chips and circuit boards are needed, or we need more highly integrated functional devices that can handle the variety of tasks thrown at them. This challenge affects essential automotive functions as new entertainment, navigation, safety, and comfort systems to entice prospective car buyers emerge.
When the chips are down, the push is upwards, and that’s just what Microchip Technology is doing these days. By emphasizing more highly integrated engine control, timing, analog functionality, and infotainment systems, Microchip Technology is positioning itself as a leader in the automotive industry. Microchip Technology has embarked on a more robust offering for automakers in several areas of interest by launching more targeted product lines aiming at automotive needs. This includes a range of processors (from 8 to 32-bit), new infotainment devices, new timing devices, and new front-end analog devices. The expanded automotive thrust is poised to entice automakers to incorporate the new, more integrated, targeted functions in a one-stop shop for easy integration and plug-and-play functionality. It is much easier to have one device manufacturer’s technology talking on a CAN bus, for example, than to debug communications hardware and software from multiple chip makers.
For decades, cars ran without any solid-state technology. Magneto ignition systems worked without any semiconductors. Crude rotation of a distributor cap set timing. Carburetors mixed air and fuel without any oxygen sensors and injectors, and even voltage regulators operated mechanically to keep the car’s electrical system in check and battery charged. People weren’t as pampered, either. There were no electric door locks, power windows, heated seats, backup cameras, or navigation systems, and a simple AM/FM radio was the entertainment system.
Today's cars feature many modern electronics aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing fuel efficiency. Due to the complexity of modern engines, achieving both of these metrics is challenging but essential. However, the improvement in fuel economy and engine emissions has not been significant on average. Hybrid vehicles have only achieved moderate gains, and if coal-fired power plants charge electric vehicles, clean air (and water) benefits are null.
These days, the modern trend towards comfort, luxury, entertainment, automated safety systems, and self-driving is selling cars. These are pushing the need for more and more sophisticated processors and electronics embedded everywhere. This includes procedures necessary for the basic operation of the engine and transmission, communications systems, safety systems, entertainment systems, and so on.
Unlike basic consumer electronics, automotive electronics need to survive a much harsher environment. This includes hotter and colder temperatures, excessive humidity and moisture, constant shock and vibrations, possible exposures to severe chemicals and solutions, and better immunity to ESD, EMI, and power fluctuations. As a result, automotive-rated electronic components and chips are much tougher than the components used in your living room TV.
Like avionic electronic systems, automotive electronics need to survive load dump conditions. While aviation requirements are more stringent, automotive electronics need reverse polarity, over-voltage, over-current, and ESD protection. In addition, automotive electronics need some forms of redundancy. If an anti-lock brake system controller fails, for example, the brakes still need to work. If an engine sensor fails, the engine should compensate and place itself in a “limp home” mode. Self-tests and indicators need to alert a driver if proximity or blind spot detector is failing. Failure detection and reporting systems need to be much more robust, and this feeds the requirements for more dedicated and distributed processors and communications networks.
Like the fly-by-wire systems used in modern aircraft, automotive networks such as CAN and LIN connect vital and non-vital systems. This can allow infotainment systems to communicate as an alert system to indicate failures and service needs. This also highlights the need for small 8-bit dedicated processors up to 32-bit high-end multi-core real-time automotive computer chips. Microchip Technology to the rescue.
Microchip Technology has expanded its offerings ranging from simple microcontrollers to multi-core high-end integrated processors with automotive-grade components. The well-established 8-bit PIC and AVR architectures are proven tough, robust, and flexible enough to handle many dedicated tasks for both pure digital and mixed-signal needs. Operating from 4MHz to 64MHz, the family supports 4 to 70 I/O lines ranging from -40ºC to +150ºC operations. Qualified to AEC-Q100 specifications, these dedicated devices are ideal for more simple autonomous systems like blower motor control, windshield wiper control, power windows and locks, and so on.
Code space up to 128 Kbytes supports complex and sophisticated dedicated tasks, including communications and signal processing. RAM sizes up to 16 Kbytes allow even the 16-bit A/D converters available in these architectures to monitor current, temperature, and other linear values needed to implement autonomous and even fallback modes of operation. For example, a part like the 8-bit PIC18F26K80-I/SO features 24 I/O lines, Flash code storage, on-chip EEPROM, 12-bit A/D converters, 24MHz operation, and IIC, SPI, and USART communications all in a 28 pin SOIC package. In addition, the 1.8V to 5V supply voltage range allows it to integrate into the car's electronics easily.
Likewise, 16-bit parts like the dsPIC33CK32MP205T-I/M4 operate up to 100MHz and contain fixed and floating-point DSP blocks as well as op-amps ideally suited for more complex analog signal processing. In addition, the single-core 48-pin parts provide more horsepower for more sophisticated applications like collision avoidance systems, airbag interlocks and controls, sensor monitoring for fuel and oxygen, for example, and rudimentary engine control and communications nodes in the ever-growing automotive communications network.
These parts also feature CAN bus connectivity for direct connection to automotive diagnostic networks and IIC, SPI, UART, and I/O. In addition, on-chip comparators allow these parts to serve as an alarm and alert indicator if analog levels exceed pre-determined thresholds.
The Microchip Technology automotive high-end 32-bit Arm® core processors also feature CAN and LIN automotive network connectivity. With up to 384 Kbytes of RAM and operating up to 300MHz, these processors can handle high-resolution heads-up displays, augmented reality, immersive technology, and tie together multiple automotive functions. In addition, embedded Ethernet connectivity eases the implementation of numerous Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth® passenger communications. The processing speeds and core complexities up to M7 are ideal for real-time responsive proximity detection and crash detection, along with all the interlocks necessary for airbag deployment.
While general-purpose automotive processors can target infotainment applications, the demands of modern-day automotive electronics make it easier to partition functions to take advantage of dedicated processors for human interface and entertainment. Media and tactile interface management, media hubs, USB port management, telematics, and wireless charging functions can be offloaded to the dedicated processors with the same high-speed architectures and DSP functionality as the other automotive processors.
Both 16 and 32-bit infotainment processors offload critical timing functions with less critical functions for traffic alerts, navigation systems, audio processing and control, voice commands, cabin environmental functions, and more. Also featuring mixed-signal functionality, the infotainment devices can monitor digital signals and sensor data independently or redundantly along with other processors in a multiprocessor communications network.
This doesn't only apply to entertainment. For example, windshield-projected heads-up display technology could alert a driver to dangers they may not see with the naked eye. When coupled with navigation systems, an augmented reality display can identify where the road is in a heavily snow-covered back road. This has become more of an issue as GPS systems navigate drivers on unfamiliar roads in adverse weather conditions.
The same can even be said for virtual reality systems in the car. High-intensity headlights can be blinding. Police lights from a stopped car can also be overwhelming. A VR headset can filter these out while enhancing the things drivers need to see, like lane markers or debris on the road.
While many mixed-signal processors have some linear functionality, discrete devices still come in handy to help improve system performance. With the automotive-grade op-amp, digital potentiometers, D/A and A/D converters, and power monitoring and regulation, the Microchip Technology Automotive Analog Portfolio is ever-increasing to allow logical distributions of processor and signal processing functions. This can help improve signal integrity by placing sensor filters and amplifiers closer to connectors and feeding the processors with data-ready values.
Engineers will like the rich availability of Microchip Technology’s evaluation boards and development tools that allow quick testing and evaluation of the technology. In addition, rapid prototyping, and the integration of new technologies, coupled with application notes, tutorials, and design resources, speed up time to market and reduce design iterations.
Integrated circuits, such as the ones available from Microchip Technology, help design engineers meet the demand for advanced engine, communications, safety, and entertainment systems. Working with a market leader such as Microchip Technology means design engineers won't have to scramble for parts to support advanced systems. Proven architectures and support engineers are ready to drive your designs, not drive you crazy.
In collaboration with Mouser Electronics, Vishay Intertechnology developed an eBook entitled An Automotive Grade Above, which consists of eight chapters featuring proven, real-world, designs for engineers working on the next generation of 48V automotive systems, battery-charging management applications, and sensor-enabled hands-free dashboards. Each chapter features a range of automotive-grade products from Vishay, including diodes and rectifiers, MOSFETs, optoelectronics, resistors, inductors, and capacitors.
Because manufacturers tend to favor a phased transition to electrification, they design vehicles with 48V and 12V systems. This architecture requires a bi-directional 48V-12V DC/DC converter to provide efficient power transfer between the systems. Learn how to meet this need using Vishay’s WSLP3921 Power Metal Strip® current sense resistor, SQJQ184E TrenchFET® Gen IV MOSFET, and IHDM-1008BC edge-wound through-hole inductor to design a 3kW converter featuring six modular 500W power stages.
The variety of hybrid/EV configurations in the automotive market creates the opportunity for an advantaged 48V inverter. Learn how to create a 25kW 3-phase inverter to optimize costs for both the inverter and the machine in an efficient packaging envelope by using Vishay’s SQJQ184E TrenchFET® Gen IV MOSFET, WSLP2726 Power Metal Strip® current sense resistor, and MKT1820 DC film capacitor.
Vehicle high-load functions, such as power steering and electric turbochargers, carry a risk of excessive arcing when using mechanical relays to connect them to the 48V battery. To mitigate this risk, learn how to design an eFuse for loads up to 200A and 48V with Vishay’s SQJQ160E TrenchFET® Gen IV MOSFET, XMC7K24CA XClampR™ TVS diode, and D2TO20 series of SMD power resistors.
Charge time is one of the most considerable barriers to the widescale adoption of EVs. The power demand from fast charging continues to pressure delivery systems to increase On Board Charger (OBC) power from 5.5kW to 22kW. To meet consumer demand for increased efficiency and power density at a low cost, learn how to design a high-power, 3-phase OBC featuring Vishay’s VS-E5PH6012LHN3 and VS-E5PX7506LHN3 hyperfast rectifiers, VS-40TPS12LHM3 high-voltage thyristor, SQW61N65EF-GE3 Automotive E series of power MOSFETs, MKP385eTHB AC, and pulse metalized film capacitor, and PTCEL PTC thermistor.
Vishay’s optoelectronic sensor devices enable human machine interaction (HMI), keeping an eye on user input and lighting conditions so that drivers can keep their eyes on the road. Learn how to realize force sensing, proximity, gesture control, and ambient light dimming with digital optoelectronic components from Vishay, including VCNL3030X01 and VCNL4035X01 proximity sensors and VEML6031X00 ambient light sensors.
With the significantly higher voltages added by EV applications to the existing lower voltages, it is essential to maintain the appropriate isolation barrier to protect safety. Learn how to design a 2kW 400V/12V DC/DC converter to transfer power cost-effectively by isolating voltages between high and low sources using Vishay’s SQJQ144AE TrenchFET® Gen IV power MOSFET and VOMA617A phototransistor output optocoupler.
As the electric/hybrid vehicle market continues to grow, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) increase high-voltage bus levels to reduce the system currents and improve efficiency. As a result, the need to measure voltages and currents in the high-voltage battery pack used by the low-voltage control system becomes more difficult because they must be isolated from each other for safety reasons. Using a linear optocoupler, such as Vishay’s VOA300, achieves this purpose. Learn how to design a voltage and current-sensing module for a high-voltage battery-management system by adding Vishay’s WSBS8518-35 Power Metal Strip® battery shunt resistor and TNPV e3 thin-film high-voltage chip resistor.
As current levels continue to increase in both 48V and 12V systems, traditional mechanical relays must be upgraded with a more intelligent solution to extend the life of components and increase safety. Learn how Vishay has done just that with the Integrated Control and Safety System (ICSS) switch. Featuring the SQSA80ENW TrenchFET® power MOSFET and NTCS SMD NTC thermistor, the solution seamlessly integrates into the vehicle and turns the load on and off when needed.
Vishay has used its expertise in traditional automotive electronics to develop technology to support the growing EV industry. As demonstrated in An Automotive Grade Above, its product innovations in 48V systems, battery-charge management, and dashboard sensors are prime examples of how electrification creates opportunities for innovation and how the company is committed to providing the market with efficient, cost-effective solutions.
According to Statista, the leader in automotive product exports worldwide in 2021 was the European Union (EU), which is made up of 27 countries. This was followed by Japan in second and the United States (US) at a distant third. According to aggregated research by World's Top Exports, Germany is the top EU automotive exporter. That same research lists the US as one of the fastest-growing car exporters since 2020 (up 19 percent), along with China (up 125.3 percent), South Korea (up 24.4 percent), and the United Kingdom (up 13.7 percent).
From these statistical figures, one can infer just how highly competitive the global automotive industry is and how consumers have a wide range of options. If Original Equipment Manufacturer's (OEMs) vehicles are not the best in quality, safety, performance, and features, they may lose customers to their competitors. Furthermore, safety is a top priority for automotive OEMs. When a vehicle is not designed, tested, and manufactured to the highest safety standards, the result can be accidents and injuries, resulting in legal and financial consequences and possibly further erosion of the automotive brand. Thus, OEMs must ensure that their vehicles adhere to all standards and regulations to remain competitive and maintain their reputation in the marketplace.
With such tough global competition, it is easy to see why automotive OEMs must ensure that standards for every automotive part meet U.L. (US) and VDE (Germany/Europe) certifications. Both organizations certify electronics used in automotive and other applications through rigorous testing protocols. These certifications ensure that automotive products meet strict safety, reliability, and environmental sustainability guidelines.
USCAR (United States Council for Automotive Research LLC) (US) and LV214 (EU) are two additional automotive standards that must be met. Developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), USCAR-2 is a performance specification for automotive electrical connectors that evaluates the performance of electrical terminals, connectors, and components when designing and producing road vehicles. LV214 is an OEM connector test specification developed by German automakers to evaluate the crimp force of connector terminals used in automotive wiring harnesses. The specification aims to detect a good crimp from a bad one effectively. The LV214 standard is technically still in development, but connector companies, including Amphenol, already offer products that meet this standard's objectives.
This week's New Tech Tuesday looks at the Amphenol LTW ZConnect® LV214-Compliant Connectors and the advantages they offer to the automotive interconnect industry.
The Amphenol ZConnect® Low Profile LV214-Compliant Wire-to-Board Connectors offer an 8mm maximum height when mated for space-saving automotive applications. These FPC (Flexible Printed Circuits) and FFC (Flexible Flat Cable) connectors also feature CPA (Connector Position Assurance) lock with audible feedback and support hot plugging with various termination styles, an anti-vibration, audible feedback 2nd lock design for easy blind mating and improved assembly efficiency for cost and space savings and more secure mating. The connector series features densities of 8 to 40 contacts at 1A each and up to 120VDC with 0.9mm/1.8mm /2.7mm pitch options. Applications range from battery management systems, medical equipment, automotive, and commercial and military applications.
The global automotive industry is highly competitive, with the EU, Japan, and the US being the top exporters. Automotive OEMs must prioritize safety to avoid legal and financial consequences and maintain their reputation in the market. Meeting standards such as U.L., VDE, USCAR, and LV214 is crucial to ensuring automotive products' safety, reliability, and environmental sustainability. By adhering to these standards, Amphenol LTW ZConnect® LV214-Compliant Connectors provide the automotive interconnect industry with all the advantages needed to remain competitive and maintain customer trust.
(Source: Microchip Technology)
RISC-V is a reduced ISA (instruction set architecture) designed for scalability and versatility in a wide range of applications and use cases. RISC-V is rapidly gaining acceptance as an open-sourced alternative to more well-established Instruction Set Architectures (ISAs) and delivers higher processing speeds and lower latency while reducing power consumption. The supporting framework around RISC-V is growing as well, and Microchip Technology is building an ecosystem to support its portfolio of RISC-V soft computer processing units (CPUs) and PolarFire® System-on-Chip (SoC) FPGAs. As a result, RISC-V-based designs have lower power, increased flexibility, fast time-to-market, and offer Linux support without the trade-offs required by other solutions.
An expanding ecosystem is vital in providing developers with a complete design solution, which is critical in reducing a product's time-to-market. The Microchip Mi-V ecosystem includes soft-core RISC-V CPUs (Figure 1) targeted for FPGA fabric and hard CPU cores implemented in the PolarFire SoC FPGAs. In addition, Mi-V provides an extensive suite of design tools and resources cultivated by Microchip and its partners to help developers adopt and refine RISC-V application designs. These tools can be used in conjunction with various hardware kits—the PolarFire Evaluation kit for PolarFire FPGAs and the Icicle kit for PolarFire SoC FPGAs—and associated IP and libraries for simplifying the implementation of high-speed interfaces, digital signal processing, memory, motor control, and even embedded vision to speed-solution development. Support for real-time Linux is a vital strength of the Microchip Technology RISC-V implementation with deterministic execution that can be critical for real-time applications. Mi-V also provides several third-party support for a wide range of development tools and resources.
Figure 1: FPGA with RISC-V IP Core (Source: Microchip Technology)
Microchip Technology’s portfolio of RISC-V soft CPUs target FPGA fabric with lower power consumption and a small footprint. When only a single CPU is required, an FPGA-based implementation can be advantageous. An FPGA implementation also provides additional flexibility and customization, including the option of adding specialized hardware acceleration in proximity with the CPU. When multiple CPUs are required, perhaps in high-reliability or high-performance applications, the PolarFire SoC FPGA provides five hardened RISC-V cores. This Linux-capable SoC features a coherent memory subsystem across cores and configurable branch prediction capabilities, allowing a flexible mix of deterministic real-time systems and Linux in a single multicore CPU cluster that executes on time, every time. The availability of both soft RISC-V cores and hardened cores in the Mi-V ecosystem makes the Microchip Technology portfolio one of the most flexible in the industry. The power efficiency of the hard-core CPU implementation and the inherent low-power characteristics of the PolarFire FPGA fabric ensure the Microchip Technology RISC-V solution is the leader in power-consumption reduction (Figure 2).
Figure 2: PolarFire SoC FPGA Block Diagram (Source: Microchip Technology)
Most FPGAs only implement a single soft processor, but utilizing multiple cores on a single FPGA allows the cluster to share resources and distribute the computing burden. Multicore processors have proven to perform complex functions and operations more efficiently than their predecessors, such as in-memory computing and massive parallelism. The PolarFire SoC family of FPGAs is based on Microchip's celebrated mid-range PolarFire FPGA architecture and provides high-end security while reducing power consumption by up to 50 percent for various applications. The SoC FPGA features a deterministic RISC-V CPU cluster and a deterministic L2 memory subsystem for Linux compatibility and other real-time applications and spans from 25k to 460k LEs (logic elements). According to the Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium's (EMBC) benchmark scoring system CoreMark—essentially a single-digit number that reflects the overall functionality of a processor core—PolarFire SoC FPGAs in the 25k LE range deliver 5.5 CoreMarks at 105W, while SRAM-based SoCs using the same amount of power delivered zero CoreMarks. PolarFire SoCs in the 100k and 460k LEs range have similar advantages over their competitors on the CoreMark scale. PolarFire SoCs are a secure and power-efficient solution for various applications ranging from artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to automotive and industrial implementations, including the IoT and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
Efficient and easy-to-use design tools are critical in designing RISC-V-based systems while accelerating time-to-market. The Mi-V ecosystem includes the Librero SoC design suite for development with PolarFire FPGAs and SoC FPGAs, and other FPGAs. The Mi-V ecosystem consists of the Eclipse-based SoftConsole integrated development environment (IDE), complete with GCC compiler and debugger. Librero and SoftConsole provide everything a developer needs to port Microchip Technology's RISC-V soft CPUs onto FPGAs and test and debug embedded firmware.
A multitude of design support resources—including tutorials, design examples, datasheets, tools for power estimation, white papers, webinars, videos, operating systems from GreenHills, Mentor and WindRiver, Yocto and Buildroot Linux BSPs, Hart software services, a variety of middleware, and other resources—round out the MI-V ecosystem and expedite time-to-market.
RISC-V is the next frontier in embedded computing, and Microchip Technology is leading the way in developing a complete solution for application designers. “Delivering the industry’s first RISC-V based SoC FPGA along with our Mi-V ecosystem, Microchip and its Mi-V partners are driving innovation in the embedded space, giving designers the ability to develop a whole new class of power-efficient applications,” says Bruce Weyer, VP of the FPGA business unit at Microchip Technology. “This, in turn, will allow our clients to add unprecedented capabilities at the edge of the network for communications, defense, medical, and industrial automation.”
Modern automotive technology was speeding along, making significant advancements with its tech systems. Then, the sudden interest in electric vehicles was—ironically—like someone suddenly stepped on the gas and hit another gear.
First, Tesla broke through with the development and delivery of its EV lineup, making strides that hadn’t been seen before. Other EV manufacturers emerged and traditional automakers soon announced they were making their leaps into electrification. Governments provided tax incentives and vowed to upgrade the charging infrastructure. The interest was expected, but certain socio-political developments triggered a greater surge.
As a result, the now-souped-up smart mobility industry created increased demands for microchip processors, sensors, components, power systems, infotainment options, regenerative braking systems, and, of course, advanced motor technology.
How is everyone, particularly design engineers, keeping up to speed? How do they sort through the deluge of information and analysis?
Mouser Electronics developed and worked with suppliers to bring information on the latest trends and technologies for modern automotive design in supplier e-books. They’re available for view on desktop and are mobile-optimized.
In this week’s New Tech Tuesdays, we’ll review e-books provided by Vishay, Microchip Technology, ROHM Semiconductor, and NXP for design engineers to get up to speed on automotive design.
Vishay: An Automotive Grade Above: Learn more about Vishay’s Automotive Grade standard for its electronic components in a 28-page e-book. The e-book details Vishay’s Automotive Grade diodes and rectifiers, MOSFETs, optoelectronics, resistors, inductors, and capacitors. The content is presented in three categories: 48V systems, EV battery-charging management, and dashboard sensors.
Microchip: Enabling the Future of Mobility: Microchip offers a close look at its automotive-grade solutions. In a long-form article with images, charts, and video, Microchip reviews the evolution of sensors, their applications, and how the data has led to software-controlled features that increase safety, comfort, and connectedness while driving.
ROHM Semiconductor: Driving the Future of Automotive Solutions: ROHM focuses on the power aspects of EVs in this e-book. In 37 pages, the e-book looks at power components and other complementary devices that ROHM provides for automotive power applications. Those include shunt resistors, gate drivers, low-dropout (LDO) regulators, DC-DC converters, and LED drivers.
NXP: Smart Mobility and the Technologies Paving the Way: Today’s modern dashboards look cool with their dynamic screens. In its 28-page e-book, NXP Semiconductors details how its connected solutions and products are paving the way for smart mobility. NXP provides a close look at its advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), radio detection and ranging (Radar), vehicle networks, and electrification.
Ever-evolving modern automotive technology means design engineers have to keep up with the industry’s innovations and increased demands. Automotive technology e-books offer design engineers a convenient way to keep up with the latest trends, products, and innovations.
We are all fascinated by the newest tech gadgets, which seem to appear almost daily, and with the incredible advancements in robotics, automation, medical devices, and the automotive world. Leading this fascination are the latest mobile devices, wearables, drones, automotive infotainment systems, and high-resolution screens with spectacular image quality and sound. And let's not overlook the plethora of smart home devices that adjust to our daily routines by lighting our homes, controlling the temperature, and monitoring and securing our homes.
Driving all this important tech are microcontrollers (MCUs), the unsung heroes of the technology world. MCUs provide the necessary intelligence, speed, design flexibility, functionality, optimization, security, and robustness for the newest devices and applications to function. MCUs are crucial for enabling modern technology to seamlessly operate, and without them, these devices would lack the same level of functionality.
This week's New Tech Tuesday will give a brief overview of MCUs before looking at a pressure-controlled LED demo powered by the Microchip AVR64DD32 MCU, part of Microchip's AVR® DD Family.
MCUs are self-contained, single-chip computers that are usually embedded within other devices to perform dedicated processing tasks. These tasks are typically simple and specific to a device's function, such as managing the keyboard input of a computer or controlling the temperature in a microwave. Unlike general-purpose computers, microcontrollers are designed to perform specialized functions, often with real-time computing constraints.
MCUs consist of a central processing unit (CPU), memory (RAM, ROM, or both), and peripherals like timers, event counters, and I/O ports, all integrated into a single chip (Figure 1). MCUs are found in a wide variety of electronic devices, including toys, appliances, vehicles, telecommunications systems, medical devices, and wearables.
Figure 1: Block diagram of the AVR DD Family of microcontrollers. (Source: Microchip Technology)
This week’s New Tech Tuesday features the Microchip Technology AVR64DD32 Pressure Demo, based on the AVR64DD32 MCU. The demo solution uses the Microchip AVR64DD32 Curiosity Nano evaluation kit (which houses the AVR64DD32 MCU), the Curiosity Nano Base for Click boards™, a Mikroe 4×4 RGB Click, and a Mikroe Force Click. For programming, the project uses the MPLAB® X integrated development environment (IDE), MPLAB XC8 compiler, and MPLAB Code Configurator (MCC).
The demo enables a user to light the LEDs on the Mikroe RGB Click by pressing a piezoresistive force sensor. The applied pressure is converted by the MCU's analog-to-digital converter (ADC) into a digital signal that lights the LEDs based on the magnitude of the applied pressure. To ensure a seamless reading experience, the ADC internally employs a smart filtering technique, gathering sixteen measurements and providing the average for a smoother and more precise result. The pressure reading can also be sent by a UART interface that allows the user to see real-time pressure data on the MPLAB Data Visualizer.
The AVR64DD32 MCU features Core Independent Peripherals (CIPs), which allow it to perform tasks in hardware instead of through software. These CIPs include the 12-bit differential ADC, Configurable Custom Logic (CCL), and Multi-Voltage I/Os (MVIO), all of which enable easy integration into various systems. The MVIO peripheral minimizes the need for external level shifters, reducing both design complexity and BOM cost. The CIPs contribute to the advanced analog and digital operations of the MCU. Additionally, the AVR64DD32 MCU offers high memory support, ensuring optimal performance for cloud-connected sensors and precision control applications.
In the realm of advancing technology, microcontrollers (MCUs) play a pivotal role, often unseen but crucial in driving innovation. From wearables to smart homes, their impact is vast and significant. This week's New Tech Tuesday spotlighted the Microchip AVR64DD32 Pressure Demo, centered around the AVR64DD32 MCU, a testament to the fusion of precision, functionality, and design. Truly, as we continue to embrace the digital age, it's essential to acknowledge and appreciate the unsung heroes—MCUs—that power our everyday tech marvels.
To learn more about the full lineup of Microchip Technology products available from Mouser Electronics, visit https://www.mouser.com/manufacturer/microchip.
“Types of Microcontroller - Lists of Microcontroller Applications.” Elysium Embedded School, July 28, 2020. https://embeddedschool.in/different-types-of-microcontroller-programming-used-in-embedded-systems/.
"Microcontrollers Types: Advantages, Disadvantages & Their Applications." ElProCus - Electronic Projects for Engineering Students. Accessed August 2, 2023. https://www.elprocus.com/microcontrollers-types-and-applications/.
(Source: Joe Prachatree/Shutterstock.com)
What is real? What is fake? Digital economies are an integral part of our digital age, and perhaps more than ever, we need to be able to recognize counterfeits. Therefore, we need to be able to authenticate what has real value. For example, one day, after having lunch, an acquaintance walked up to the restaurant counter to pay, handing the cashier a $20 bill (Figure 1). The cashier looked at it and, after quickly testing it, informed him that it was a fake. Someone had slipped him a counterfeit $20 bill in another exchange—and they were now $20 richer, at my acquaintance’s expense.
Figure 1: A United States Andrew Jackson $20 bill. (Source: Pakhnyushchy/Shutterstock.com)
The last thing anyone wants is to be taken advantage of. Governments go to great efforts to ensure that their hard currencies have sophisticated technology to identify the difference between what’s real and fake. These techniques enable us to authenticate what has real value.
The same applies to the world of electronic systems and components. No one wants to be fooled and use counterfeit products. In the automotive realm, this is of particular concern. Unscrupulous parties may target automotive systems with replaceable or limited-life sensors, peripherals, modules, or consumables. Counterfeit replacements may introduce passenger and vehicle safety concerns while also reducing system efficacy and efficiency.
Maxim Integrated, now part of Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI), stands the forefront of security and authentication. ADI operates at the center of the modern digital economy, converting real-world phenomena into actionable insight with its comprehensive suite of solutions. The company built a solid reputation as an expert at helping automotive electronic design engineers implement hardware-based physical security to achieve low-cost counterfeit protection, peripheral device authentication, and secure feature setting.
Autonomous vehicles and connected cars are fast becoming a reality on the roadways around the globe. As decision-making increasingly moves from the driver to the vehicle and its intelligent electronic systems, the demand for automotive security has become critical. Automotive security has expanded to include vehicle authentication, counterfeit prevention of advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) peripherals, and securing data communication to the cloud. With the imminent deployment of mass-produced battery-powered and autonomous vehicles, the imperative is upon vehicle manufacturers to consider and then design protections that mitigate against outside attacks and hacking, malware, and improper external manipulation (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Shot of a futuristic self-driving van moving on a public highway in a modern city. (Source: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.com)
Embedded electronic protection enabled by security ICs is helping to secure automotive technology for the vehicles of tomorrow. These security ICs require Automotive Electronics Council (AEC)-Q100 Grade 1-qualified secure components to enhance safety and preserve optimum system functionality. Analog Devices is the right partner to ensure vehicle safety and reliability by authenticating automotive parts.
Modern cryptographic methods secure information and communications using a set of rules. Cryptography makes it possible for only those who are appropriately authorized to access and process the data. Secure authenticators are security ICs designed for discerning proper authorization and keeping unauthorized parties out.
As one example, consider the DS28E40 DeepCover® Automotive 1-Wire Authenticator. This product is a secure authenticator that provides a core set of cryptographic tools derived from integrated asymmetric (elliptic-curve cryptography (ECC)-P256) and symmetric (secure hash algorithm (SHA)-256) security functions. Asymmetric encryption algorithms use a combination of public and private keys for generating and verifying digital signatures of the data. Symmetric encryption algorithms use a single private key for generating and verifying HMAC hashes of data.
Besides the security services provided, hardware-implemented cryptographic engines integrate a Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS)/National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) True Random Number Generator (TRNG). This feature generates random numbers to create cryptographic keys to protect data and operations. In addition, it provides 6Kb of One-Time Programmable (OTP) memory for user data, keys and certificates, one configurable General-Purpose Input/Output (GPIO), and a unique 64-bit ROM identification number (ROM ID) (Figure 3).
Figure 3: Block diagram of the Maxim Integrated DS28E40 DeepCover® Automotive 1-Wire Authenticator. (Source: Maxim Integrated)
Don't fall victim to those who create havoc with counterfeit parts. Remember, we live in a digital age. Authentication is therefore essential in order to determine what is valuable. Automotive manufacturers are now able to establish secure authentication in far more ways than ever before. Analog Devices has solutions that ensure vehicle safety and reliability by authenticating automotive components and cloaking their sensitive data under multiple layers of advanced security. Although these solutions aren’t a license to print money, it is the best way I know to keep it rolling in. If you should decide not to take my advice, you might find yourself out many Andrew Jacksons because you didn’t securely authenticate.
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