SAN ANTONIO, Texas—Freescale Semiconductor Inc. Tuesday (June 21) rolled out a new line of smart microcontrollers with integrated high-voltage capabilities for smarter motor-powered capabilities inside the cabin of automobiles.
By extending its line of low-cost S12 16-bit microcontrollers, Freescale aims to woo automobile makers who want to make their vehicles smarter without adding to their cost. The S12 MagniV microcontrollers have integrated three functions—processor, analog front-ends for sensing and high-voltage actuation—into a single chip.
"We believe that the MagniV will help automobile makers reduce their chip count and costs, while increasing the capabilities of their in-cabin functions," said Manuel Alves, microcontroller product manager at Freescale.
The first chip in the new line controls electric windows or sunroof functions with a smart algorithm that prevents them from injuring passengers by stopping when they encounter an obstacle, like a passenger's arm. The S12VR64 is implemented with Freescale's proprietary 180 nanometer process that uses 40V analog, non-volatile memory (NVM) and digital logic to integrate the local interconnection network (LIN) physical layers, voltage regulators and drivers for DC motors into a single chip.
Freescale will add to the family of smart in-cabin microcontrollers over the
coming decade with a wide variety AEC-Q100-qualified S12 MagniV models. They
integrate a processor with on-chip regulators, LIN and CAN physical layers and
high-voltage motor drivers for smart in-cabin functions like LED lighting,
stepper-motor control, brushless DC motor control and generic slaves.
instance, Freescale hopes to announce by 2012 a model for the smart control of
windshield wipers that can detect rainfall and automatically turn them on. All
S12 MagniV models are a part of Freescale's product longevity program that
guarantees automobile makers that they will continue to manufacture the parts
for at least 15 years.
I have to agree with Frank.
Freescale was making VERY useful integrated MCUs before they became Freescale as I used to use them in building custom BioMedical research equipment for a research HSC in Texas.
Freescale has been running the "combo" processes for a couple of decades now. When I was there, we always met with automotive customers to help them partition their design to the best technological and economical advantage. The analog front end would often be a separage chip due to noise and total system cost considerations, but as the technology advances, more and more of the system gets integrated into one chip. This is the best case for automotive since there are fewer components and connections to worry about in reliablity, which reduces overall cost.
I recently did a survey of how many ICs are in the typical automobile and got a tally ranging from 350 to 500! The average total cost per vehicle ranged from $250 to $400. That puts a lot of incentive behind this kind of upgrade,where multiple chips can be replaced by a single one. Also the cost of the PCBs, cables and everything else can really be cut by going to more complex chips whose price is right and replace the functions (or in this case actually enhance the functionality by adding the anti-pinch capability. Over the next 5 years, the roadmap shows dozens of such "consolidation" chips for in-cabin functions, that do more for less.
Not sure we have enough data to make that statement resiston. A mature technology node in a depreciated fab, flash and analog require a few additional masks. Yield, die size and wafer cost will drive the rest of the equation - 2 of the factors we will likely never know..