PORTLAND, Ore. China will pass the United States as the world's top automotive market in five to 10 yearscirca 2015, according to McGraw-Hill analysts at J.D. Power and Associates (Westlake Village, Calif.).
Freescale Inc. (Austin, Texas) and STMicroelectronics NV (ST; Paris) plan to be serving that market, starting with their first jointly developed automotive microcontroller, which they announced Monday (May 19) at the China International Automotive Electronics Products & Technologies Show (Shanghai).
As an extension to its Power Architecture for the control of small automotive engines and transmissionsone to four cylindersthe MPC563x will become the Power Architecture's low-end entry into 32-bit microcontrollers. Freescale also announced new 16-bit members of its S12 automotive microcontroller family at the show.
To enhance the control of motorcycles and small automobile engines in the Chinese and similar markets, the jointly developed 32-bit microcontroller includes special on-chip hardware for managing greenhouse emissions, for easy implementation of complex control feats such as electronic "paddle-flap" manual-shift transmissions, and for running in very fuel-efficient modes near, but not knocking.
"The most efficient conditions under which to run an engine is very near knocking, but in a typical vehicle today you have a knock-detection sensor and a dedicated ASIC to process the data from it," said Kevin Klein, Freescale's marketing manager for automotive microcontrollers. "In contrast, we have added on-chip support for knocking, using a combination of software and new chip features, like a variable gain amplifier and a decimation filter."
Freescale recently opened a joint development effort with Chery Automobile Co. Ltd., the largest automobile maker in China, to modernize its vehicles with electronic controllers and to give Freescale a foot in the door of the Chinese automotive supplier market.
For emerging markets, such as China, where printed-circuit-board makers find it difficult to mount the ball-grid-array packages of other Power Architecture 32-bit microcontrollers, the new low-end MPC563x will be available in a quad-flat pack, which is easier to mount.
"Our joint development with Chery is beneficial to both companies; we are helping them drive the latest automotive technologies into their vehiclespower, transmission and body electronicsand they are helping us to better understand the requirements of the Chinese vehicle market," said Klein.
Both Freescale and ST expect the MPC563x to be qualifying at automotive suppliers throughout most of 2009, with volume shipments commencing in 2010.