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Denso Partners with United Microelectronics
DENSO CORPORATION (DENSO), a leading mobility supplier, and United Semiconductor Japan Co., Ltd. (“USJC”), a subsidiary of global semiconductor foundry United Microelectronics Corporation (NYSE: UMC; TWSE: 2303) (“UMC”), announced a joint collaboration to produce insulated gate bipolar transistors* (IGBT), which have entered mass production at the 300mm fab of USJC. A first shipment ceremony was held today to mark this important milestone. It comes just one year after the companies announced a strategic partnership for this critical power semiconductor used in electric vehicles.
As adoption of electric vehicles accelerates, automakers are seeking to boost powertrain efficiency while also increasing cost-effectiveness of electrified vehicles. The jointly invested line at USJC supports the production of a new generation of IGBT developed by DENSO, which offers 20% reduction in power losses compared with earlier generation devices. Production is expected to reach 10,000 wafers per month by 2025.
Elektrobit Picks BlackBerry for NEV
Elektrobit announced it has selected BlackBerry Limited to provide the foundational software for a new neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) of a well-known Chinese luxury EV maker.
For the project, Elektrobit supplied its 2nd generation EB corbos AdaptiveCore software and EB corbos Studio to create the AUTOSAR Adaptive Platform based software framework for the new controller, which is built on the QNX® Software Development Platform 7.1 and QNX® OS for Safety operating system from BlackBerry. Together, Elektrobit’s best-in-class implementation of the AUTOSAR Adaptive Platform and BlackBerry QNX’s ISO 26262 ASIL D certified OS technology offers a complete, pre-integrated foundation for developing ADAS electronic control units (ECUs) with enhanced levels of automotive safety.
The two leading automotive software companies have a longstanding global partnership with many major design wins and a shared commitment to make it easier for automakers and their suppliers to develop advanced features and functions, reducing the overall time to market of vehicles.
“This marks our first domestic collaboration with BlackBerry in the field of autonomous driving, and we look forward to delivering more successful joint projects in China,” said Stefan Pruisken, Director, Head of Product Management High Performance Computing of Elektrobit. “The combination of the Elektrobit AUTOSAR Adaptive Platform and the powerful BlackBerry QNX operating system, both proven in creating safe, secure, flexible, updatable and high-performance ECUs, will enable Chinese OEMs to accelerate the development of its autonomous driving domain controller and facilitate mass production of new EVs.”
“We are pleased to collaborate on this latest autonomous driving domain controller project with Elektrobit,” said Dhiraj Handa, Vice President, Asia Pacific, BlackBerry IoT. “The combination of their leading edge software solutions and BlackBerry’s time-tested, trusted and mission-critical software platform will help drive innovation and foundational safety, security and reliability for the Chinese automotive market.”
Cognosos Intros Driver Tag
Cognosos – a leading provider of real-time asset location solutions – announced the launch of the Driver Tag, a new offering that delivers visibility into driver activity throughout the outbound logistics supply chain. The addition of the Driver Tag to Cognosos’ lineup of purpose-built asset tags adds key behavioral data for Automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), Vehicle Processing Centers (VPC) and Third-Party Logistics providers (3PL). This data opens up powerful new insights to enable outbound logistics providers to improve their operations.
With Bluetooth technology embedded into the Driver Tag, the new badges, worn by drivers tasked with moving vehicles from manufacturing to distribution, syncs with the asset tracking tags inside the vehicles, tying vehicle movement data to a specific driver. This behavioral data drastically increases the amount of information available to drive evidence-based operational decisions.
The new tags come as a complementary offering that leverages the Bluetooth technology recently introduced in the RT-270 tag which debuted last month. With the deployment of the innovative driver tags, users can not only review movement data of specific vehicles but also identify who is responsible for each movement, and the length of time each driver takes to perform a given vehicle delivery. In addition, data can be aggregated to understand movement throughout yards and lots holistically and uncover trends and patterns around drivers, vehicle types, origin points, destinations, shifts, time of day, weather conditions and more.
“The introduction of the MNW-C10 is the next step in our journey to solve our customers’ most pressing challenges. Right now, the industry has no reliable way to understand how efficiently–or inefficiently–cars get moved around, let alone who is moving them in the yards,” said Cognosos Chief Product Officer Adrian Jennings. “We can now give OEMs and FVL providers game-changing visibility of operations within their yards, establishing greater levels of accountability and delivering metrics that improve efficiency.”
Bringing in-depth visibility into asset movement/tracking, this game-changing solution will help provide necessary insight into the productivity of outbound logistics, as the data reported by the driver tags helps yard managers:
- Create accountability for the drivers working the yard
- Understand who is moving which vehicles
- Define how quickly drivers are moving
- Measure time between vehicle moves
- Compare drivers and plants to discover best practices
- Identify, encourage and reward top drivers
- Provide better internal operation systems that can lead to less employee turnover and increased employee satisfaction
TI Isolated Gate Driver
Texas Instruments (TI) (Nasdaq: TXN), a leader in high-voltage technology, debuted a highly integrated, functional safety-compliant, isolated gate driver that enables engineers to design more efficient traction inverters and maximize electric vehicle (EV) driving range. The new UCC5880-Q1 reinforced isolated gate driver offers features that enable EV powertrain engineers to increase power density and reduce system design complexity and cost while achieving their safety and performance goals.
As EVs continue to grow in popularity, semiconductor innovations in traction inverter systems are helping overcome critical barriers to widespread adoption. Automakers can build safer, more efficient and more reliable silicon carbide (SiC)- and insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT)-based traction inverters by designing with UCC5880-Q1, featuring real-time variable gate-drive strength, Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI), advanced SiC monitoring and protection, and diagnostics for functional safety.
“Designers of high-voltage applications like traction inverters face a unique set of challenges to optimize system efficiency and reliability in a small space,” said Wenjia Liu, product line manager for high-power drivers at TI. “Not only does this new isolated gate driver help enable engineers to maximize driving range, but it also integrates safety features to reduce external components and design complexity. And it can be easily paired with other high-voltage power-conversion products such as our UCC14141-Q1 isolated bias supply module to improve power density and help engineers reach the highest levels of traction inverter performance.”
Maximize EV driving range while reducing design complexity and cost
The need for higher reliability and power performance for EVs is continuously growing, as efficiency gains have a direct impact on operating range improvement per charge. But achieving any increase in efficiency is difficult for designers, given that the majority of traction inverters already operate at 90% efficiency or higher.
By varying the gate-drive strength in real time, in steps between 20 A and 5 A, designers can improve system efficiency with the UCC5880-Q1 gate driver as much as 2% by minimizing SiC switching power losses, resulting in up to 7 more miles of EV driving range per battery charge. For an EV user who charges their vehicle three times per week, that could mean more than 1,000 additional miles per year. To learn more, read the technical article, “How to Maximize SiC Traction Inverter Efficiency with Real-Time Variable Gate Drive Strength.”
In addition, the UCC5880-Q1’s SPI programmability and integrated monitoring and protection features can reduce design complexity as well as external component costs. Engineers can further reduce components and quickly prototype a more efficient traction inverter system using the SiC EV Traction Inverter Reference Design. This customizable, tested design includes the UCC5880-Q1, a bias-supply power module, real-time control MCUs and high-precision sensing.
See efficient traction inverter and other high-voltage designs at PCIM Europe 2023
TI is showcasing high-voltage innovations for a sustainable future, including the UCC5880-Q1, at the 2023 Power Conversion and Intelligent Motion (PCIM) Europe conference May 9-11. Demonstrations will show system-level innovations for gallium nitride (GaN)- and SiC-based designs as well as other TI technologies to increase power density and efficiency for EVs, power supplies, energy storage systems and more. Visit TI at Hall 7, Booth No. 459, or see TI.com/PCIM for more information.
Throughout the conference, TI power experts will present in five sessions to address high voltage, high power density and low electromagnetic interference design challenges. Their schedule is available at TI.com/PCIM.
TI is committed to helping engineers unlock the power of high-voltage technology with innovations in power conversion and wide band-gap semiconductors.
Package, availability and pricing
Preproduction quantities of the automotive-grade, ISO26262-compliant UCC5880-Q1 are available now, only on TI.com, in a 10.5-mm-by-7.5-mm, 32-pin shrink small-outline package (SSOP). Pricing starts at US$5.90 in 1,000-unit quantities. Designers can purchase a new UCC5880-Q1 evaluation module for US$249. Multiple payment and shipping options are available on TI.com.
ECARX New Products
ECARX Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: ECX) (“ECARX”), today formally announced during its inaugural investor day a suite of new groundbreaking products that will push the boundaries of the driver experience. Among the products are Super Brain – a new “all-in-one” central computing system, Makalu – a new intelligent cockpit platform with real-time 3D rendering, server level processing performance, and new functionalities for safety and security. Additionally, ECARX today shared details around a wide-ranging licensing agreement with Unreal Engine, the world-leading pioneer of 3D immersive visual tools. Together, the companies will collaborate on next-generation in-vehicle digital cockpits and infotainment applications that possess 3D rendering functionalities.
“Today is a landmark moment for ECARX,” said ECARX co-founder, Chairman and CEO, Ziyu Shen. “Over the past six years, we have remained focused on building the foundation for the intelligent vehicle ecosystem that will revolutionize smart mobility. Through our market-leading products and innovation-driving partnerships, we are excited to expand our customer base and become the world’s top auto-tech company.”
During the company’s inaugural investor day, ECARX revealed a wide range of new hardware and software solutions that form the core of a long-term product strategy. These include the Antora series to fulfill increasing System-on-a-Chip demands in the electric vehicle market, Makalu to push the boundaries of the driver experience, the Super Brain central computing platform to power the evolution of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), and Cloudpeak to serve as cross-domain system software.
Antora series: Fulfilling the increasing System-on-a-Chip demand in the electric vehicle market
- Powerful 7 nanometer automotive-focused System-on-a-Chip that increases overall computing power of the car
- Streamlines system integration with 40 percent fewer pins
- Certified for functional safety and information security; supports rich intelligent cockpit hardware configurations
Antora 1000 Pro
- Powerful 200k DMIPS computing power
- 1.8 TFLOPS graphics rendering capability
- Inter-module video stream latency lowered by 51 percent than other mass-produced flagship platforms
- All-in-one computing platform integrating cockpit and parking, as well as some ADAS functions
Makalu: Pushing the boundaries of the driver experience
- One of the most powerful intelligent cockpit platforms, enabling real-time 3D environment rendering with server level processing performance
- Shaping the future of gaming inside the vehicle, an immersive dashboard experience, and personalized entertainment for passengers
- Multiple 4K displays can be supported to maximize the precision of the graphics
Super Brain Platform: Powering the evolution of ADAS & the Software Defined Vehicle
- An “all-in-one” solution that integrates the cockpit, driving, and vehicle control with ECARX full-stack hardware and software technologies
- Combining the SE1000, cutting edge System-on-a-Chip (SoC), with advanced AD chipsets to bring AI performance to its full potential
- To enable improvements in the performance and efficiency of the E/E architecture and drive the evolution from intelligent EVs to intelligent mobile devices
Cloudpeak: Cross-domain foundation for intelligent vehicles
- A multi-pillar & cross-domain system built by ECARX global R&D teams in collaboration with HaleyTek – the joint venture between ECARX and Volvo
- Supports multiple hardware platforms and multiple application ecosystems
- Meets highest standards of safety and security around the globe
In addition to the major product announcements, ECARX shared details of a strategic partnership with Unreal Engine, a business unit of Epic Games. Unreal Engine will work closely with ECARX to provide software, support, and 3D technology that will underpin and enhance cockpit visuals and enable passenger interactive entertainment in one of the most ambitious visual-imaging partnerships in the automotive industry. ECARX will harness visuals developed for leading AAA video games to provide truly engaging experiences for drivers and passengers.
The collaboration expands the ecosystem for ECARX’s next-generation digital cockpit by enabling an immersive user experience through in-vehicle gaming and the development of desktop-level 3D visual effects. The potential volumes, automotive applications, and target markets for ECARX systems using Unreal Engine technologies are expected to be agreed in the inaugural phase of the collaboration. The next-generation digital cockpit is expected to first be available in intelligent vehicles from 2024 and will provide advanced gaming functionalities that include industry-leading graphics, a multiplayer framework, and high-quality cinematic experiences, among others.
“By leveraging Unreal Engine’s groundbreaking software development platform and vast portfolio of industry-leading video games, ECARX will be able to deliver advanced gaming and cinematic capabilities directly to the dashboard of a car,” Mr. Shen said. “This collaboration expands the market opportunity for our next-generation digital cockpit and brings our full-stack automotive solution to the next level — reimagining the in-vehicle experience for all. Drivers can look forward to incredible high-fidelity detail when engaging with their digital cockpit and to experiencing the most immersive user experience ever created for vehicles.”
The collaboration between ECARX and Unreal Engine represents an important strategic milestone for the company, and builds on recent agreements with smart, AMD, Meizu, FAW, and SiEngine to drive innovation in the industry and create robust pathways to growth.
VicOne & TomTom
VicOne, an automotive cybersecurity solutions leader, announced that it is partnering with TomTom, the geolocation technology specialist, to safeguard connected cars that perform as an extension of the driver’s digital life. Working with TomTom, VicOne enables OEMs to further protect their users’ data privacy in-vehicle through its purpose-built smart cockpit cybersecurity software.
Focused on delivering greatly enhanced and more secure services to car users to extend their cabin experience, automotive ecosystem players are now planning to provide in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) apps, for conference calling or gaming for example. Adding these expanded applications could make the vehicle more vulnerable to cyber-attacks, leading to the theft of car users’ personal information. Drivers can protect themselves against these threats with the VicOne security app that can be downloaded and installed on their IVI system. This safeguards private and personal information that cyber-thieves can steal from in-car phone or video calls using malicious IVI apps or vulnerable browsers. VicOne detects these malicious apps and URLs and alerts car owners to avoid opening them. The VicOne solution also allows car owners to block these apps to prevent future exposure. In addition, VicOne’s solution can turn passive into active with 24/7 personal data surveillance, monitoring everything from email addresses to bank account numbers, credit card details, social security numbers, and much more. When this sensitive personal information is leaked, VicOne notifies car owners so they can take action immediately to protect themselves and their data from being compromised.
“A connected cockpit unlocks a world of possibilities and potential pitfalls, and our partnership with VicOne underscores our everlasting commitment to ensure a uniquely safe and secure driver experience,” said Paul Hesen, VP Product Management, TomTom. “Together, we are able to provide a single, consistent, cohesive and task-oriented digital cockpit that delivers peace of mind for consumers when inside the car.”
“With cars becoming supercomputers on wheels, the combination of comprehensive threat intelligence with network security expertise is more critical than ever,” said Edward Tsai, Vice President of Strategic Partnership at VicOne. “While personalized information is the future of mobility, a future-ready threat protection in-cabin is required. VicOne and TomTom share a vision for better digital lives in the cockpit, now we can bring the automotive ecosystem a step closer to this future.”
VicOne’s future-proof smart cockpit cybersecurity protection solution gives in-vehicle IVI increased protection. By combining its xCarbon ECU intrusion detection and prevention systems, with the TomTom Digital Cockpit, VicOne enables OEMs to provide multi-layered cybersecurity for their offerings, and help car owners feel safe from cyberattacks before and after purchasing their cars.
Transphrom New Simluation
Transphorm, Inc. (Nasdaq: TGAN)—global leader in fundamentally superior, quantitatively outperforming GaN power semiconductorsy announced availability of its 1200 V FET simulation model and preliminary datasheet. The TP120H070WS FET is the only 1200 V GaN-on-Sapphire power semiconductor introduced to date, making its model the first of its kind. Its release indicates Transphorm’s ability to support future automotive power systems as well as three-phase power systems typically used in the broad industrial, datacom, and renewables markets. These applications will benefit from the 1200 V GaN device’s higher power density and reliability along with equal or better performance at more reasonable cost points versus alternative technologies. Transphorm recently validated the GaN device’s higher performance ability in a 5 kW 900 V buck converter switching at 100 kHz. The 1200 V GaN device achieved 98.7% efficiency, exceeding that of a similarly rated production SiC MOSFET.
The innovative 1200 V technology also underscores Transphorm’s leadership in GaN power conversion. Vertical integration, epitaxy ownership, and patented process paired with decades of engineering expertise enable the company to bring to market the highest performing GaN device portfolio with four additional major differentiators: Manufacturability, Drivability, Designability, and Reliability.
PCIM 2023 attendees can learn more about the 1200 V device from Transphorm representatives at Hall 7, Booth 108 during May 9 – 11.
Preliminary Device Model Specifications and Access
Transphorm’s 1200 V technology is anchored in proven process and mature technology, satisfying customer confidence requirements. The GaN-on-Sapphire process is in volume production today in the LED market. Additionally, the 1200 V technology leverages the fundamentally superior, normally-off GaN platform used in Transphorm’s current device portfolio.
Key TP120H070WS device specifications include:
- 70 mΩ RDS(on)
- Normally off
- Efficient bidirectional current flow
- ± 20 Vmax gate robustness
- Low 4Vth gate drive noise immunity
- Zero QRR
- 3-lead TO-247 package
The Verilog-A device model is recommended for use with the SIMetrix Pro v8.5 Circuit Simulator. A LTSpice model is in development and will be released in Q4 2023. Simulation modeling allows for fast and efficient power system design validation while reducing design iterations, development time, and hardware investments.
The device model files and datasheet are available for download here: https://www.transphormusa.com/en/products/#models.
1200 V FET samples are expected to be available by Q1 2024.
Transphorm GaN in Automotive Power Systems and Charging Ecosystem
While the 1200 V GaN device is an optimal solution for various market applications, it offers a unique advantage to automotive systems.
The electric vehicle industry, especially at the higher kilowatt nodes for larger vehicles, is moving toward 800 V batteries in the latter half of this decade. As such, 1200 V power conversion switches will be used to deliver the required performance level. Transphorm’s 1200 V platform is therefore well positioned for success in next generation onboard charger, DC-to-DC converters, drive inverters, and pole charging systems.
For current model EVs using 400 V batteries, Transphorm offers 650 V normally-off SuperGaN® FETs that are AEC-Q101 qualified to 175°C and in volume production.
“We are the leading power semiconductor company demonstrating and delivering on the promise of GaN,” said Umesh Mishra, CTO and Co-founder, Transphorm. “Our expertise brings to market unmatched GaN devices that set new standards every day for power density, performance, and system cost. Our 1200 V technology is a testament to our engineering team’s innovative vision and determination. We’re proving that GaN can very easily play in application markets previously slated for silicon carbide, which opens a wide range of market adoption potential for our business and GaN in general.”