Giving automotive manufacturers the confidence they need to embed field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) in system-critical automotive applications, the folks at Actel have announced that they have received ISO/TS 16949:2002 certification.
When combined with the AEC-Q100 Grade 1 and Grade 2 qualification of their ProASIC3 devices and the company's Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) documentation, the folks at Actel say that this new certification ensures that their customers can deploy the highest grade automotive low-power FPGA product on the market and confirms that the company's design, development, and production procedures meet the standard's strict guidelines.
"Certification is a mandatory requirement for doing business with the majority of automotive manufacturers," said Terry Pence, senior manager, high-reliability product marketing, for Actel. "This important ISO certification ensures that our quality management system follows best practices for the automotive industry and provides a process for continual improvement. By satisfying the automotive industry's stringent requirements, we ensure that our products are well-suited for the extreme conditions presented by under-the-hood, safety and body electronics applications."
Designed for reliability
Actel's flash-based FPGA devices are claimed to offer the industry's lowest power and critical firm error immunity levels not achieved by SRAM-based solutions. This allows a wide variety of transportation vehicles – from standard automobiles to trucks and locomotives – to leverage the flexibility, performance and overall lower program costs of using FPGAs in high-reliability applications. To date, more than 70 percent of the company's automotive-grade, flash-based devices are used in "under-the-hood" applications such as powertrain, safety, and transmission control modules.
Last year, Actel announced that its ProASIC3 family was the first to achieve AEC-Q100 Grade 1 and Grade 2 qualification, making them the first FPGAs to achieve this quality level. Qualification verifies that ProASIC3 devices can operate in extended junction temperature ranges (–40 to +135 degrees C). Ultra low static power of 40 mA at 135 degrees C enables the devices to endure extreme temperatures for longer periods of time without thermal reliability or runaway concerns.
The folks at Actel say that the ProASIC3 family also uniquely features on-chip flash memory for FPGA switch control, making these devices immune to neutron-induced firm errors which can cause configuration upsets – a mandatory requirement in an industry driving toward zero defects. Thus, Actel says that its automotive-grade products provide the first viable alternative to complex and costly application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) technology in under-the-hood applications.