NXP Makes Way for Software-upgradable Cars with New Vehicle Network Processor
NXP designed S32G, a vehicle network processor, to reduce software complexity and enhance data security.
At the kick-off of CES 2020, NXP Semiconductors announced S32G, vehicle network processors designed to manage the increasingly complex data flows in today’s automobiles. NXP claims that this device is the first to integrate MCUs with ASIL D safety along with network acceleration.
The NXP S32G. Image from NXP
The unit manages data transmission around the vehicle with enhanced security to protect critical applications from attacks.
Quad Arm Cortex-A53 cores and Arm Neon technology. These are arranged in two clusters with two cores each. They support high-level operating systems and enable the electronic control unit (ECU) consolidation. The device also features optional cluster lockstep if appropriate for applications and services.
Triple Arm Cortex-M7 lockstep cores are available for real-time applications and safety operating systems and ECU consolidation.
High-level block diagram of S32G274A vehicle network processor. Image from NXP
Packet Forwarding Engine (PFE) is available for Ethernet network acceleration. It provides a stateful firewall, which serves to offload the processors, allowing them to focus on value-added services
The S32G is an AEC-Q100 Grade 2 qualified device that operates over a -40°C to +105°C temperature range.
Security Engine and Lock-step Cores
The S32G’s firewalled Hardware Security Engine (HSE) is said to allow Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) support for trusted key management. The HSE is the root of trust that supports secure boot, provides system security, and protects against side-channel attacks.
S32G is said to be the first of its kind to offer lock-step clusters of Arm Cortex-A53 applications cores. Image (modified) used courtesy of NXP
NXP states that the device offers full ASIL D capabilities that include lock-step Arm Cortex-M7 MCU cores, and what the company asserts is an industry-first ability to lock-step clusters of Arm Cortex-A53 applications cores. This, according to NXP, allows greater levels of safety performance through higher-level operating systems and larger memory support.
The S32G will support the next generation of ADAS applications while providing communication capabilities that will better integrate the totality of the now separate domains of the modern vehicle's data network.
To optimize networking, NXP has included:
- 20 x CAN/CAN FD interfaces
- 4 x gigabit Ethernet interfaces
- PCI Express gen 3 interfaces
NXP claims that the S32G vehicle network processor has versatile uses in domain vehicle architectures—including a service-oriented gateway, a domain controller, and an ADAS safety controller—and zonal vehicle architectures—including central compute and zonal gateways.
Domain and zonal vehicle architectures. Image used courtesy of NXP
Bernhard Augustin, Director of ECU development autonomous driving at Audi said, “We found the unique combination of networking, performance, and safety features of the S32G processor to be ideal for use in our next-generation ADAS domain controller.”
Evaluation and Support Tools
NXP provides an evaluation board to enable customers to more quickly deploy the features of the S32G network processor.
S32G evaluation board (S32G-VNP-EVB). Image from NXP
New Ethernet Switch
Designed to work with S32G, the NXP SJA1110 is an Ethernet switch that NXP asserts to be the first device of its kind to offer built-in safety capabilities.
The NXP SJA1110 Ethernet switch. Image used courtesy of NXP
The unit features integrated 100BASE-T1 PHYs, hardware-assisted security, and multi-gigabit interfaces.
Block diagram for SJA1110 Ethernet switch. Image used courtesy of NXP
Together with the S32G, the SJA1110 addresses the needs of the automobiles to transmit vast amounts of data both within the vehicle and to communicate in both directions with external endpoints.