With the MB9D560, Spansion offers a single-chip solution that used to be implemented by four separate chips -- two MCUs and two resolver digital converters (RDCs), according to Tehrani. He claimed that this is the first time RDCs have been integrated into a twin-motor controller.
Tom Hackenberg, principal analyst responsible for MCUs and DSPs at IHS, described the MB9D560 as “an elegant solution for EV motor control.”
Asked about what makes it competitive compared to competitors’ solutions, Hackenberg noted, “the high level of performance and integration.”
More specifically, he said:
The dual cores operate at 200 MHz and the chip has integrated the features specifically adapted to motor control including angle processing, 3 phase current normalization, 2>3 & 3>2 phase conversion, current/voltage conversion, 12-bit A/D conversion, wave generators, integrated proportional-integral-derivative control, embedded diagnostics and error correction specifically designed for motor controls.
Above all, one of the unique features of the Spansion’s new twin-motor control is “the integrated resolver to digital converter that eliminates the need for sine/cosine lookups enhancing motor control performance and reducing system cost in EV/HEV motor/generator control designs,” the analyst added.
Spansion’s Tehrani acknowledged that his company, until now, hasn’t participated in the HEV/EV automotive MCU segment “in a meaningful way.” IHS’ Hackenberg estimated Renesas to be the top player. The other usual suspects in the automotive include Freescale, Infineon, Spansion, STMicroelectronics, and Texas Instruments, the analyst added.
Integrated in the MB9D560 MCU are 2Megabytes of NOR flash memory -- 1 MB for each core, according to the Spansion CTO.
The new MB9D560 MCUs, which have been in development for several years, are fabricated by using a 90nm process at Fujitsu’s 300mm wafer foundry. Spansion continues to stick to its proprietary embedded flash technology for automotive MCUs, according to Tehrani.
Spansion’s memory play will start making a difference in automotive MCUs when it rolls out “the projected charge-trap solutions at 40nm in 2015,” according to Hackenberg. “This will place [Spansion] on memory performance par with Renesas, the #1 MCU supplier, and I predict Spansion will be in a better position to offer price advantage.”
Last year, Spansion announced the joint development of a 40nm process that integrates United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC)’s 40nm LP logic process with Spansion’s proprietary embedded Charge Trap (eCT) Flash memory technology. Under the agreement, UMC is licensed to manufacture products based on this technology for Spansion, on a non-exclusive basis.
Down the pike, when automotive MCUs start going down to 40nm and 28nm process technologies, Tehrani acknowledged that Spansion “might find an opportunity to make its eCT Flash available” for others to license. “We may be doing that as our overall strategy.”
ARM Cortex R5
The IHS analyst views that Cortex R5 -- which isn’t a common offering on the automotive MCU market today -- as “a prominent feature” for Spansion’s Traveo family of MCUs.
Other than the twin-motor controller, Spansion, however, hasn’t released any details of other Traveo family members. Hackenberg said, “I am expecting a pretty good balance of new application specific features such as a Cortex R5 with integrated 2D/3D graphics, CAN, FlexRay, SHE/security acceleration -- all part of a single chip solutions specifically targeting Instrument clusters. I expect to similar application specific solutions for body electronics.”
— Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent, EE Times