Paving the way for the mobility revolution

January 5, 2017 OpenSystems Media

Carmakers are continually improving every aspect of their vehicles to achieve superior fuel efficiency and cleaner emissions. As the very definition of mobility evolves from gasoline-run vehicles to hybrid and electric alternatives, innovative technologies are also required to make the future of transport easier, safer, and greener.

At the heart of these fundamental changes lie the semiconductor technologies that enable greater power efficiency, increase performance, and support more intelligent vehicle systems. These technologies are key to bringing us ever-closer to this ‘mobility revolution’.

Clean, green and energy-efficient

Though hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs) are considerably more energy-efficient than their combustion counterparts, there’s always room for improvement. Minimizing power losses, maximizing power savings, and boosting overall performance are constant challenges facing HEV and EV manufacturers. Functional safety, including ISO 26262 compliance, also plays an increasingly important role.

Safety first

Recent progress in vehicle advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) – including lane assist, emergency brake assist and distance control – has given us semi-autonomous vehicles and put us on the fast track to fully autonomous cars. As we become more reliant on ADAS, the ability to collect information from the immediate surroundings – combined with reliable and fast information processing and a failsafe electronic control unit (ECU) – become mandatory rather than desirable requirements.

Cameras, RADAR, and Light and Radar (LiDAR) technology, for example, are increasingly used to collect information in and around the vehicle and feed it to the driver assistance system. By 2018, automakers will start rolling out highly automated driving with a minimum of five RADAR-based systems for 360° coverage.

Hassle-free software updates

Effective hardware, of course, needs to be complemented by efficient and highly reliable software implementations – but software evolves, so there is also the continual need to upgrade vehicle software, whether to fix bugs, improve performance, or add more functions.

Using mobile communication channels to remotely execute vehicle software updates over the air (SOTA) is a key focus for car manufacturers – which is understandable given the high cost associated with vehicle recalls to fix or upgrade software.

The benefits of remote software updates are undoubtedly compelling, but the security aspect – and with it the potential consequences on vehicle safety – must be considered.

An insufficiently secure external connection used to run software updates, for example, could open the door to potential hackers. And, once in, this could provide access to the complete board net architecture of the car und the corresponding control, comfort, and safety systems. It is no exaggeration to say that a driver or passenger’s life – or that of other road users – could ultimately be dependent on the security protection built into the vehicle infrastructure.

Infineon is showing visitors to CES this year how automated driving is becoming a reality thanks to technologies such as 77 GHz RADAR and LiDAR, 3D cameras for driver monitoring, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), and secure software updates over the air (SOTA). Find out more here.

Shawn Slusser is Vice President for Infineon’s North American and South American automotive business. He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Lawrence Technological University, Southfield MI and an MBA from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI.

Shawn Slusser, Infineon
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