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Deeper Dive: Nervous drivers can relax in safety-March 20 2014

Nervous drivers can relax in safety

Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor, looks at some of the ways being deployed to improve design, communications and to tackle vehicle safety on roads today.

Software and chip companies are working hard to make our streets safer – this is not a war on crime, but a concerted effort to make an automobile as safe as possible, protecting the driver and passengers from harm inside and outside the vehicle.

Ralf Klein, Product Manager, for German timing analysis and verification tool company, Symtavision believes that the European automotive market (led by Germany) considers the worse-case scenarios, looking at buffering and responses times. There are, however, communications problems, in the high levels of integration within the vehicle, which are increasing as bandwidth grows. Last year, the company put the analysis capability onto the Ethernet, introducing both a standard Ethernet version and an Ethernet AVB (Audio Video Broadcast) version, which prioritize communications. It is emerging as the in-car infotainment distribution standard, although is now being used increasingly in driver assistance and control functionality systems.

Most recently, the company has collaborated with development tools company, Lauterbach, to develop a joint workflow to develop automotive ECU (Engine Control Unit). The workflow is made up of Lauterbach’s TRACE32 modular, microprocessor development tools and Symtavision’s Trace Analyzer tool, which visualizes and analyzes timing data. It also used the company’s SymTA/S system level tool suite for planning, optimizing and verifying real-time systems.
ECU code is imported into TRACE32 from any third party ECU configuration tool for target debugging, emulation and software validation. Trace data from ECU measurements or hardware independent simulations is then passed to TraceAnalyzer to visualize and analyze timing traces and validate ECU scheduling. Timing models can be processed in SymTA/S for analysis and it is here that scheduling can be changed. When optimized, the configuration is returned to TRAACE32 and uploaded to the target.

It has a floating license access, says Klein, which speeds up exchange between the server and tools. The flow allows engineers to focus on the entire communications chain, or on separate parts of the communications path, as required, to decrease the iterations of the ECU development.

Speculating on the future, Klein says that most needs are with the automotive sector, although it is looking at the gateway area before deciding on the best strategy to communicate data form the bus to the Ethernet. “Ethernet and multi-core are areas to explore,” he says “As Ethernet and multi-core are used more, [our] tools can be used for analysis, making inter-core communications a possibility for the future”.

Multi-core microcontrollers from the UK’s fabless semiconductor company, XMOS, have recently been qualified to AEC-Q100 standards, making them suitable for use in automotive projects. The company’s xCORE multi-core microcontrollers can be used in infotainment, driver assistance and powertrain control. “It has been tricky to gain recognition in machine bearing and ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems), but now we are being designed into the new, next-generation of systems,” said Andy Gothard, Director of Corporate Marketing, XMOS. He revels in the prospect of “accelerating these tasks”, remarking that there is considerable growth. “Car makers and audio equipment makers want networked, real-time, data. They want to ditch wire in a car and audio,” he says. There is also an evolution of intelligent, autonomous cars and intelligence, with data from multiple sensors as well as condition monitoring will improve safety as well as contribute to energy efficiency and cost savings.

Initially, the xCORE XS1-L16A-128, 16-core microcontroller is available, to the Ethernet AVB standard via a twisted pair connection, using BroadR-Reach. The low latency architecture can be used in ECU, power train, chassis and active safety systems in vehicles as well as audio interfacing, DSP processing for active noise cancellation.
The company plans to release further, 6-, 8- 12- and other 16-core versions in the second half of this year.

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One Response to “Deeper Dive: Nervous drivers can relax in safety-March 20 2014”

  1. Deeper Dive: Nervous drivers can relax in safety-March 20 2014 – Chip Design Magazine (blog) | Relax Says:

    [...] Deeper Dive: Nervous drivers can relax in safety-March 20 2014Chip Design Magazine (blog)Deeper Dive: Nervous drivers can relax in safety-March 20 2014. Nervous drivers can relax in safety. Caroline Hayes, Senior Editor, looks at some of the ways being deployed to improve design, communications and to tackle vehicle safety on roads today. [...]

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