Connected Car News: Renesas, FEV.io, Continental, Wolfspeed, Iteris, Cipia & Magnachip

In connected car news are Renesas, FEV.io, Continental, Wolfspeed, Iteris, Cipia and Magnachip.

Renesas Intros ECU Virtualization Platform

Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE:6723), a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions,  announced an integrated automotive ECU Virtualization Platform that enables designers to integrate multiple applications into a single ECU (Electronic Control Unit) that are safely and securely separated from each other to avoid interference. The solution enables customers to adopt new electrical-electronic (E/E) architectures using MCU-based zone ECUs supporting multiple logical ECUs on one physical ECU. Migration to the new platform maximizes legacy reuse with minimum development effort to leverage gains in lower power consumption and reduced wiring harness weight and complexity in the vehicle.

“The transition to a zone architecture increases the design burden by changing the functional role assignments between the central ECU and each zone ECU”

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The ECU virtualization solution platform combines Renesas’ RH850/U2x MCUs together with ETAS’ RTA-HVR software, a hypervisor designed for microcontrollers with hardware virtualization support. This platform provides a ready-to-use demonstrator environment comprising pre-configured embedded software, tools and an interactive demonstrator environment for RH850/U2x MCUs, allowing automotive customers explore design choices for the development for their individual Zone-ECU project.

“The transition to a zone architecture increases the design burden by changing the functional role assignments between the central ECU and each zone ECU,” said Satoshi Yoshida, Senior Director, Automotive Digital Products Marketing Division at Renesas. “In addition to the high performance provided by the RH850/U2x MCUs, I am confident that this new ECU Virtualization Solution Platform will give our customers the advantage of easy, fast development of advanced systems with built-in safety and security features.”

“Working together with Renesas, we were able to leverage the HW capabilities of the RH850/U2x MCUs to deliver a high performance, low overhead, embedded hypervisor for automotive applications that complements class-leading AUTOSAR OS technologies,” said Nigel Tracey, Vice President of Vehicle Operating Systems at ETAS.

The RH850/U2x MCUs including RH850/U2A and RH850/U2B deliver a cost-efficient and high-performance solution for next generation Zone-/Integration-ECUs due to a rich set of embedded hardware that realizes the integration of multiple ASIL D-compliant software partitions. The MCUs are specifically designed for Zone-applications targeting reduced ECU component count with minimal re-engineering overhead. RH850/U2x MCUs include features such as Hypervisor hardware support, Quality-of-Service (RH850/U2B only) support, Safety & Security functions to enable freedom from interference, and a high-performance NoC (Network-on-Chip) structure to ensure proper real-time behaviour of the individual integrated applications.

ETAS’ RTA-HVR software works with the hardware virtualization features of the Renesas RH850U2x MCUs to provide one or more virtual machines (VMs). VMs are separated from each other in both space (using the RH850U2x memory protection unit and guard features) and time (using the RTA-HVR VM scheduler) to meet strict automotive safety and security requirements. RTA-HVR provides a toolkit to build a virtual device extension (VDE). Each VM comprises one or more virtual CPU cores, a subset of device memory space and a collection of peripherals.

RH850/U2x Zone-ECU Starter Kit

The unique RH850/U2x Zone-ECU Starter Kit is available as part of the solution. The new kit provides a “ready-to-run” configuration of RTA-HVR showcasing different VM configurations (single core, multi-core and multi-VM per core). Guest software images are provided for each of the configured VMs, including bare metal and guest images using ETAS’s RTA-CAR Classic AUTOSAR solution. It offers example virtual devices for peripheral sharing and virtual inter-VM networking (a “virtual CAN”).

In addition, a PC-hosted application enables users to observe and interact with the VMs at runtime. The PC application supports numerous actions including:

  • Triggering faults in the system at runtime to explore VM behaviour during memory violations, timing overruns etc.
  • Updating one VM while the other VMs are running using the no-wait OTA capabilities of the RH850/U2x.
  • Exploring the performance impact of alternative VM switching mechanisms
  • Enabling developers to see the impact of HW QoS features

Availability

The ECU Virtualization Software Platform, including the RH850/U2x Zone-ECU Starter Kit, is available from Renesas starting from the end of May. More information is available at https://www.renesas.com/application/automotive/gateway-domain-control/zone-ecu-virtualization-solution-platform.

FEV Group Intros FEV.io Brand

FEV Group is combining its long-standing expertise in intelligent mobility and software development with the establishment of their new FEV.io brand. This move is intended to accelerate and optimize innovative power and interdisciplinary collaboration in the areas of automated and autonomous driving, as well as connectivity of infrastructure, people, and vehicles. The result will be powerful new solutions for intelligent, safe and sustainable mobility.

Tomorrow’s vehicles will be embedded in the digital lives of their users. Software-driven areas such as ADAS/ADS, infotainment and connected functions will be key differentiators in the user experience. “We have been supporting our customers in the successful development of intelligent mobility solutions for many years, and we see the FEV.io brand as a way to extend the value we provide in this space significantly,” said Professor Stefan Pischinger, President and CEO of FEV Group. “This ranges from design and industrialization to the provision of frameworks and tools.”

Software upgrades and a constant flow of data between vehicles, infrastructure, people, and the cloud backend, have a significant impact on how modern vehicles are developed today due to their complexity. As such, they also directly impact customer needs and the pace of development. “Our methodologies in scenario and model-based systems engineering provide a unique benefit and help us to master even the most sophisticated system complexity,” said Dr. Thomas Hülshorst, Group Vice President of Intelligent Mobility & Software at FEV. This approach allows the company to bridge the gap between the vehicle and ITC (information technology and communications) and deliver state-of-the-art connected solutions with an end-to-end view of the data pipelines from the vehicle to the backend.

FEV.io’s structure allows it to guarantee an agile and quickly adaptable working model for its customers around the world. Therefore FEV.io is globally presented as a brand in the local organizations and additionally established as an agile legal entity FEV.io GmbH close to the German FEV headquarters in Aachen. Should a customer also require support in energy and mobility system – or even complete vehicle – development, the newly founded brand will work closely with the FEV Group to offer all solutions “from a single source” at more than 40 locations worldwide.

Private Display Displayed by Continental

Continental has developed an innovative display that allows vehicle information to be displayed dynamically, either in a private mode or in a way that everyone can see. With the new display technology, the so-called Switchable Privacy Display, the technology company allows front passengers to use multimedia content such as videos or the infotainment system without distracting the driver from road traffic. If necessary and the traffic situation permits, all vehicle passengers can optionally be given access to this content by means of a switchover. Conventional displays, which up to now have been offered primarily for passengers, do not enable flexible switching to a private mode. “Modern vehicles are increasingly becoming smartphones on wheels for drivers and passengers. Driver distraction is still one of the main causes of traffic accidents. With our new display solution, we are therefore aiming for a digital experience that minimizes distraction,” says Philipp von Hirschheydt, head of Continental´s User Experience Business Area. “The user experience is becoming a fundamentally distinguishing feature and game changer in the mobility of tomorrow. The crucial factor here is that we also provide the front passenger with new infotainment options.”

Although privacy functions have been used for some time for laptop displays, they were not previously suitable for use in the automotive sector. Using private mode, users prevent content from being viewed by people in their immediate vicinity. During the development of the new display technology, Continental succeeded in using this technology for the first time for the special requirements in the vehicle and combining the light in privacy mode in such a way that less than one percent of light emission is received by the driver. This does not impair their awareness. At the same time, the display generates a high-quality image.

By switching the privacy function on or off, the display makes content visible either to only the front passenger or to all passengers. “Thanks to our expertise in back-illumination and plastics technology, our Switchable Privacy Display includes a range of key components that we have developed and also manufactured ourselves,” says Kai Hohmann, product manager for display solutions. “This enables us to meet the highest quality requirements both from vehicle manufacturers and users in terms of contrast, luminance, and image homogeneity. In addition, we will continue to increase energy efficiency until it is launched on the market, thereby making the technology even more sustainable.” The market launch of the new Switchable Privacy Display is planned for 2024.By switching the privacy function on or off, the display makes content visible either to only the front passenger or to all passengers. “Thanks to our expertise in back-illumination and plastics technology, our Switchable Privacy Display includes a range of key components that we have developed and also manufactured ourselves,” says Kai Hohmann, product manager for display solutions. “This enables us to meet the highest quality requirements both from vehicle manufacturers and users in terms of contrast, luminance, and image homogeneity. In addition, we will continue to increase energy efficiency until it is launched on the market, thereby making the technology even more sustainable.” The market launch of the new Switchable Privacy Display is planned for 2024.

Wolfspeed Opens , Mohawk Valley Silicon Carbide Factory

-Wolfspeed, Inc. (NYSE: WOLF), the global leader in Silicon Carbide technology and production,  officially opened its state-of-the-art, Mohawk Valley Silicon Carbide fabrication facility in Marcy, N.Y. with a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring Federal and State Officials. The 200mm wafer fab will help lead the industry-wide transition from silicon to Silicon Carbide-based semiconductors.

The automated Mohawk Valley facility is the world’s first and largest 200mm Silicon Carbide fab providing uncompromised wafer quality and higher yield. The devices developed in Mohawk Valley will be critical in feeding Wolfspeed’s $20B+ pipeline and the global semiconductor industry. The first Silicon Carbide lot was run at the facility earlier this month. More than 600 high-tech Mohawk Valley jobs will be created by 2029.

“We are proud to be a part of the growing semiconductor industry in New York and appreciate the strong, sustained support received from our local partners,” said Rex Felton, Senior Vice President of Global Operations. “This facility showcases our commitment to the highest standards for operational excellence that will lead to more output and therefore, more product in the hands of our customers.”

Wolfspeed is also expanding its operations in N.C. with the creation of a materials factory in Durham, N.C., scheduled to be completed later this year. Together, these factories establish a national Silicon Carbide corridor on the East Coast, combining Wolfspeed’s 30+ year history of research and development in N.C. with the strong technology base, rich manufacturing heritage, and high quality talent in N.Y.’s Mohawk Valley.

Cipia  Partners with Ambarella  for DMS

Cipia (TASE: CPIA), a computer vision AI in-cabin automotive solutions provider, announced an expansion of the company’s existing partnership with Ambarella, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMBA), an edge AI semiconductor and software company. Cipia announced the integration and general availability of its leading Driver Sense DMS on Ambarella’s CV28 SoC, to offer state of the art driver monitoring with the leanest available computing requirements.

Ambarella’s CV28 combines advanced image signal processing, high-resolution video encoding, and CVflow® computer vision processing in a single SoC. The lean computing requirements of Cipia’s driver monitoring system (DMS) software, combined with the efficient architecture of Ambarella’s CV28 SoC, provide low power consumption and reduced thermal management. This allows the combined solution to fit in extremely small form factors, such as rear view mirrors, while not compromising on the performance and capabilities that OEMs require. Additionally, this solution complies with existing and anticipated DMS automotive regulations. The CV28 integrates Ambarella’s latest-generation ISP, which is capable of processing monochrome (IR) as well as RGB-Ir sensors.

Cipia’s neural networks architecture efficiency, and the additional optimization for Ambarella’s CVflow AI engine, leave ample room for additional capabilities on the CV28. The Euro-compliant basic DMS utilizes only 50% of the SoC’s total Arm® cores and 10% of the CVflow engine’s AI processing power. The advanced DMS setup, with detection of driver ID and dangerous activities (phone usage, smoking and seatbelt fastening), utilizes 60% of the total Arm cores and 35% of the CVflow AI engine.

Iteris Awarded $1.5 Million LA MTA CSP Grant

Iteris, Inc. (NASDAQ: ITI), the world’s trusted technology ecosystem for smart mobility infrastructure management, announced that it has been awarded a $1.5 million subcontract by HNTB Corporation to provide operations, maintenance and management services for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) NextGen Countywide signal priority (CSP) system, representing the continued adoption of Iteris’ mobility consulting services in southern California, a key geographic market.

Under the terms of the subcontract agreement, Iteris will operate and manage LA Metro’s vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X)-enabled CSP system on an ongoing basis.

The CSP system, which Iteris designed, implemented, integrated and managed, under previous contracts with LA Metro dating back to 2008, is the largest signal priority project in the nation, and brings total deployments of Iteris’ CSP connected bus solutions to over 600 signalized intersections in the region.

The V2X-enabled CSP system will leverage existing on-bus priority request systems that incorporate GPS-based automatic vehicle location equipment, wireless communications and advanced intersection traffic controller technologies that provide intersection-based priority granting capabilities.

“We are excited to support our work on this important smart mobility infrastructure initiative with LA Metro in the operations and maintenance phase of the Countywide Signal Priority Program,” said Steven Bradley, regional vice president, Mobility Professional Services at Iteris. “Improving safety, efficiency and sustainability for all modes of transportation is a priority for Iteris, and our continued involvement in this program is a testament to the efficiency of our vehicle-to-infrastructure approach to mitigate traffic congestion and improve the environment throughout southern California metropolitan areas, as well as nationwide.”

LA Metro is one of the largest public transportation agencies in the country, serving more than 10 million residents, covering over 83 square miles of Los Angeles County communities.

Magnachip Semi MOSFET

Magnachip Semiconductor Corporation (“Magnachip”) announced that the company has released a new 40V Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistor (MOSFET) to control Brushless Direct Current (BLDC) motors for automotive applications.

Given concerns about global climate change and corresponding efforts to reduce carbon emissions, the Electric Vehicle (EV) market is projected to grow significantly. Omdia, a global market research firm, estimates that the global EV market is expected to grow 27% annually between 2022 and 2025. As such, demand for high-efficiency and durable BLDC motors for EVs will increase and Medium Voltage (MV) MOSFETs are essential for BLDC motors to operate efficiently. Magnachip has developed a new 40V MOSFET featuring low RDS(on)* to reduce the conduction loss of automotive BLDC motors and the company began mass production of this new MOSFET in April 2022.

As reliable automotive semiconductors are critical to vehicle safety, the new 40V MOSFET is fully AEC-Q101 (Automotive Electronics Council-Q101) certified. The first application of this new product is for the Electric Water Pump of a new EV model from a global auto manufacturer. This MOSFET is also suitable for a variety of BLDC applications, such as electric oil pumps, engine cooling fans, electric power steering and battery cooling fans.

Magnachip continues to expand its market share in the automotive semiconductor sector with new products and advanced technology. Further, Magnachip is becoming a stable supplier of power semiconductor products as an integrated device manufacturer amid global supply chain disruptions affecting the automotive semiconductor industry, which is forecast to last through 2023.

“The market for both electric and internal combustion engines in the automotive sector is more competitive than ever and the demand for high-performance MV MOSFETs is increasing rapidly,” said YJ Kim, CEO of Magnachip. “Accordingly, we are strengthening our presence in global markets and believe the release of this new 40V MOSFET will help us to secure greater market share.”

*RDS(on): On resistance, the resistance value between the drain and the source of MOSFETs during on-state operation

Three-quarters of consumers surveyed by Cox Automotive said they were not willing to pay an annual or monthly subscription fee for most items on their next vehicle. Rather, they expect most features and services to be included in the upfront sales price.

Consumers Do Not Want to Pay Extra for Services Rendered

According to Cox Automotive research safety and comfort features should be part of the purchase price, they said overwhelmingly. Specifically, 92% said heated and cooling seats should be part of the purchase price; 89% said remote start should be as well. Both items have been discussed by some automakers as subscription features. As for safety features, the response was almost as overwhelming; 89% said lane-keeping assist should be part of the price and 87% said automatic emergency braking should be too.

While they still favor inclusion in the purchase price, consumers are less adamant about services like in-vehicle Wi-Fi and stolen vehicle tracking. They recognize those are available by subscription and exhibit some willingness to pay extra.

Of the 25% of car buyers who said they would pay or might be willing to subscribe for some items, the features and services fell into three major buckets:

  • Safety features, like lane-keeping assist and automatic emergency breaking, topped the list by a wide margin of what consumers would be willing to pay extra for – more than 80%. And they said they would pay the most for those features – an extra $30 to $35 per month.
  • Vehicle performance features got the nod by some consumers for extra charges. They include upgraded horsepower and torque, over-the-air software updates, stolen vehicle tracking and features that keep track of the vehicle’s operational performance and service. They’d pay $20 to $25 a month extra. The survey respondents were iffier on paying more for range upgrades on electric vehicles, which many automakers are doing now. Only 39% said they definitely would pay extra for added range.
  • Creature comforts, like heated/cooling seats and remote start, gained some approval for extra pay, between $15 to $31 a month. But consumers were less enthusiastic about paying more for in-vehicle Wi-Fi. On personalization features, some said they would pay extra for an instrument cluster they could personalize but not for exterior lights that are reconfigurable.

For automakers to achieve their revenue aspirations by charging consumers extra for features and services, they have work to do.

For starters, they need to educate and sell consumers on the idea of paying extra.

  • Only about half of consumers surveyed knew that paying extra on a subscription basis was a thing.
  • Only one in five said they had tried subscribing to services, either on a free trial basis or a paid subscription.
  • While the vast majority of buyers expect features and services to be part of the total purchase price, some are willing to pay extra for certain items. Automakers should consider packaging those items into safety technology or creature comfort packages so as not to put off consumers by nickel and diming them for individual items.

 

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