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Subject: Re: Future power supply concepts for automotive electronics
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 2002 23:26:20 +0200
Organization: Ingenieurbuero Erckert
References: <3D878889.98EC63A6@erckert-ibe.de> <3D8E3436.32FD08A6@webaccess.net>
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I agree staying at a low performance technology would do the job for
many of the things you need. Unfortunatelly automotive companies (and
they claim their end customers too) love nice gadgets with lots of
displays, GUIs, GPS, keyless entry....
The automotive companies managers dream of operating systems and object
All this drains performance like hell and we end up with a power PC to
control a simple window lift! But the shrink roadmaps of the controller
suppliers are there and dreaming managers push design.
Besides that there is a spare part problem. I'm sure future controllers
will be able to emulate a let's say HC12, but they won't have the rugged
ports of it anymore. Nobody will keep a microcontroller fab running just
for a few million units for the automotive market while at the same time
prices are down.
Chuck Simmons schrieb:
> The easiest solution is to retain 0.35 micron process for interrupts and
> context. It is a no brainer when migrating to 0.18 micron process by
> simply retaining the 0.5 micron oxide which is done anyway to get 5 volt
> tolerance on inputs.
There is barely a semiconductor manufacturer still allowing a new
(logic) design on a line with more than 0.25um feature size.
I had a look at TSMC 0.35 and down. DGO (double gate oxide, 69Ae) allows
building 3.3V inverters. 5V ports already need cascodes and level shifts
involving current mirrors thus consuming current in STOP mode too.
Operating the gates at 5V already is a reliability risk.
I also designed some 6V analog stuff in TSMC 0.18. Very ugly and just
making channels longer will not overcome gate voltage limits. You need
cascodes and biasing those consumes current flowing through voltage
I do see lines like smartmos, BCD or SPT designed to handle up to 60V.
But they are too expensive and the logic is too inefficient to build
MCUs or flash memories beyons some kB.
> Late 1970's technology is already overkill for engine control.
> I should call attention to a gross error that GM made in the 1980s. They
> made transmission controls respond too quickly. The result was that when
> I flew into Boston and Avis tried to give me a GM car, I asked for a
> Ford or Chrysler because of a sore back that could not take the beating
> a GM transmission would give it. I was driven to this because of the
> disgusting Pontiacs that fiddled their gears constantly on mildly hilly
This is more a software issue than a semiconductor issue. You can build
the same poor transmission control with OPAMPS, Rs and Cs.
> Of course, I am talking about essential systems. Non-essetial systems
> are another can of worms. The engine control system and the transmission
> control system need to preserve very little context because most context
> reconstructs quickly upon restart.
European engine control electronics (BMW, Mercedes, Audi etc.) today
already have up to 2MB of code!
I wouldn't want to pay a 2MB flash in a 0.8um 5V technology!
Collision detection (airbag firing) is very performance hungry because
the digital filtering and the plausibility checks in the software grow
dramatically. (In europe they measure acceleration + deformation of the
car + plausibility check searching for the noise of metal being torn
appart to not trigger a false firing.)
Keyless entry needs quite some crypto stuff + wake up capability. So it
must be permanently powered (at least the interrupt handler).
> Collision avoidance may require fast
> processors but again, there is no need to retain context. On board
> navigation is another problem since current context is slow to recover
> and past information is occasionally useful. It still seems that storing
> context in older technology and powering down the power hogs is the way
> to go. Flash for context is OK because the life of a car is usually less
> than 50,000 starts and some flash memories are good for at least 100,000
> rewrites. That seems to be a fair match.
100000 rewrites at which temperature range? Stand alone flash or
> I suppose it could be slightly exasperating to punch the key in your car
> with the strawberry on it (grandma's house) and have the car pipe up and
> ask for a clue because it has forgotten the way.
> ... The times have been,
> That, when the brains were out,
> the man would die. ... Macbeth
> Chuck Simmons email@example.com
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