MCUs Take on Automotive and Space-constrained Applications—a Roundup
The latest crop of microcontrollers seek to enable new functionalities over a wide range of general and purpose-built applications. These include zone control units and wireless communication in cars.
It’s clear that microcontrollers (MCUs) are ubiquitous in control and automation applications. To serve those system designs, chip manufacturers continue to roll out efficient MCUs that boast high performance in their respective use cases.
In this article, we discuss some MCUs that have been recently introduced to serve the needs of wireless automotive applications, E/E architecture, and so on.
Renesas Ramps up Its RA MCU Portfolio
For its part, Renesas recently announced the expansion of its RA MCU family with two new MCUs: the RA4E2 and the RA6E2 group of MCUs. The RA family of MCUs are designed to be general-purpose and could be used in a variety of applications. With these two new additions, Renesas hopes to enable advanced performance in control and automation applications.
The Renesas RA family MCU portfolio. Image used courtesy of Renesas. (Click image to enlarge)
The RA4E2 and the RA6E2 come in small packages with pins ranging from 32 to 64 pins. The company says that the RA6E2 has pin compatibility with RA4E2. This enables users to adopt the products in applications that require small footprints and lower pin counts.
The products in the group boast communication peripherals such as SCI, SPI, I3C, CAN FD, USB 2.0 full-speed, and so on. While the RA4E2 runs at a clock speed of 100 MHz with 128 Kb flash memory, the RA6E2 has a clock speed of 200 MHz with up to 256 Kb flash memory.
The two new Renesas MCUs support applications in sensing solutions and designs. Image used courtesy of Renesas
Putting the RA6E2 MCU to use, the company has successfully achieved winning combinations with other host MCUs. Thanks to the full Add-on Voice User Interface (VUI) solution design from Renesas. It is said that the RA6E2 MCU in the design operates tasks without burdening the host MCU.
With the MCUs’ robust components and parts, Renesas is confident that users will enjoy an efficient and high-performance design in their general-purpose and automation solutions. The new RA4E2 and RA6E2 devices were unveiled last month at Embedded World 2023.
Onsemi Expands its RSL15 MCU Portfolio
Onsemi’s RSL15 is a family of general-purpose MCU that targets Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) applications. With the goal of addressing specific use cases in the automotive industry, Onsemi recently added a new MCU—the NCV-RSL15—to the RSL15 group.
Onsemi calls its NCV-RSL15 a power-efficient automotive wireless MCU. Image used courtesy of Onsemi
Like the Renesas’ RA family, the NCV-RSL15 also has an Arm Cortex -M33 running in its processing core. The NCV-RSL15 targets use cases in wireless communication in vehicles thereby eliminating the need for excess cables for in-vehicle communication.
The company also says that users can adopt the new MCU to address heightened security concerns resulting from data acquired in sensors. What’s more, the product is suitable for use in space-constrained applications such as tire monitoring systems, thanks to its miniature size. The product is offered in a lead-free QFNW40 package.
High-level block diagram of the NCV-RSL15. Image used courtesy of Onsemi. (Click image to enlarge)
The company says that the NCV-RSL15 is designed with a proprietary smart sense power mode. This makes it power-efficient and qualified for EEMBC certification. In addition, the company says that the ultra-low power BLE MCU allows users to meet the design requirements of a wireless-enabled automotive solution.
Collab Accelerates E/E Architecture Solution
In a software-defined vehicle, the zone control unit (ZCU) is responsible for handling essential functions such as communication, power distribution, data management, sensing operations and other real-time functions. What’s more, ZCUs reduce the complexity of design of the electronic control unit (ECU) of vehicles by enabling a zonal architecture solution to handle the essential functions.
Continental aims to enable a robust zonal architecture in next-gen vehicles. Image used courtesy of Continental
One key requirement of a scalable zone control unit for software-defined vehicles is to have a robust and high-performance E/E architecture. With that in mind, Continental announced it has adopted Infineon’s 32-bit TriCore AURIX–TC4x family of MCUs to design server-based architectures for next-gen software defined vehicles.
The collaboration between Continental and Infineon seeks to achieve an efficient E/E architecture with central high-performance computers (HPC) and powerful ZCUs. This move will eliminate the need for individual control units that result in bulky and inefficient vehicle artchives.
According to Infineon, the TriCore AURIX–TC4x family of MCUs is optimized for both zone and domain control for E/E architectures. Moreover, the MCU features the TriCore v1.8 and AURIX accelerator suite. This helps to accelerate performance with a high clock speed of 500 MHz.
Close up view of the Infineon’s AURIX–TC4x MCU. Image used courtesy of Infineon
The family of MCUs also has support for communication peripherals such as 5 Gbit/s Etherent, PCIe, 10 Base-T1-S and CAN-XL. These components boast low latency, high throughput required for transmitting streams of data in a scalable E/E architecture.
In addition, the MCUs provide security and provide certification up to ASIL D, in accordance with the ISO26262 standard.
Continental says that the collaboration with Infineon opens the door for next-gen software-defined vehicles that blend efficiency, safety and comfort.