PORTLAND, Ore.—A new lower-cost automotive microcontroller family from Freescale Semiconductor Inc. aims to lower the cost of collision avoidance systems. The new Qorivva family of 32-bit microcontrollers, built on Freescale's Power Architecture, will help make collision avoidance systems standard equipment on most models, according to Freescale, rather than just a high-end luxury item like today.
"Today, the least expensive lane departure warning systems on high-end models cost $500, but this new cost-effective family of Qorivva 32-bit microcontrollers will help lower the price to $100 so that standard models can take advantage of these sophisticated collision avoidance systems," said Allan McAuslin, an automotive marketing manager at Freescale.
The U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that one in three automotive crash fatalities could be avoided by advanced driver assistance systems. The long-term goal of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) is attaining a zero-fatality rate worldwide. The new Qorivva will help achieve the ADAS goal, according to Freescale, by lowering the cost of blind-spot detection, lane-departure warnings, side-view assistance and adaptive headlight control.
The Qorivva MPC567xK is low-cost itself, plus it reduces the need for external signal processors by virtue of its dual-core Z7 Power Architecture CPUs—benchmarked at 305 Automarks—plus its on-chip signal processing engines. Operating at up to 180 MHz, with up to 2 MB flash memory and 512K SRAM, the MPC567xK works with Freescale's 77 GHz silicon germanium emitters for radar-based ADAS solutions. The Qorivva microcontroller works with AUTOSAR run-time software, including the MCAL driver suite and real-time operating system as well as with Freescale's general purpose development tools, including compilers, debuggers and the CodeWarrior development studio.
Blind spot detection certainly sounds it has potential to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce collision damage. What about adding in a feature to flash a warning light on the side of the vehicle that is about to be hit to alert the driver in the blind spot to back off. Having both drivers alerted by the system to the impending collision might further reduce accidents.
The new features on cars are really cool. I looked at a Ford Edge a couple of months ago. The blind spot detection is a feature I would really like to have. I wish the drivers that keep cutting me off had that feature too.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.