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TI Broadens Automotive Offerings With High Performance Controllers And Embedded FlexRay Communications

Oct 19, 2004

FlexRay For TMS470 MCUs Enables Reliable, Fault Tolerant Communications While Automotive Qualified TMS320C28x(TM) Controllers Offer Designers 150MIPS of DSP-based Performance For Advanced Motor Control

HOUSTON (Oct 19, 2004) - Enabling the trend toward advanced automotive features for safety, reliability and fuel efficiency, Texas Instruments (TI) (NYSE: TXN) announced the immediate availability of Automotive Electronics Council (AEC) Q-100 qualified, high performance digital signal processing (DSP) based C28x™ controllers as well as customer commitments for embedded FlexRay for the TMS470 platform of automotive microcontrollers (MCUs). Leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have begun to commit to TMS470 MCUs with embedded FlexRay and will receive silicon once the final FlexRay consortium conformance tests have been implemented, which is expected in October 2005. The adoption of embedded FlexRay not only ensures that TI is at the forefront of advanced automotive innovations, but also re-affirms TI's dedication to forward-thinking FlexRay consortium standards and the overall automotive market. For more information on TI's automotive controllers, see www.ti.com/autocontrollers.

FlexRay is a communications standard developed by the FlexRay Consortium, which consists of leading automotive manufacturers and suppliers like BMW, Bosch, DaimlerChryser, Motorola, Philips and GM. This standard offers deterministic and fault tolerant communications for advanced automotive applications such as brake-, steer- and drive- by wire. The FlexRay standard offers a higher level of flexibility and determinism by combining a scalable, static and dynamic message transmission, incorporating the advantages of familiar synchronous and asynchronous protocols. The protocol also supports:

  • Fault-tolerant clock synchronization via a global time base
  • Collision-free bus access
  • Guaranteed message latency
  • Message oriented addressing via identifiers
  • Scalable system fault-tolerance via the support of either single or dual channels

TMS470 MCUs offer control for complex systems

The TMS470 family of microcontrollers, based on the 16/32-bit ARM7TDMI® core, offers a complete selection of peripherals, memory options and performance up to 60 MHz, designed specifically for applications including advanced chassis, airbag and body control. The increased system complexity of today's automobiles is driving up data rates and the need for fault tolerant and deterministic behavior, both of which increase demands placed on current communications standards. By incorporating the FlexRay module, TMS470 MCUs provide (OEMs) and car manufacturers control over the increasingly complex system of sensors, actuators and electronic control units (ECUs)

"It's not just about being first – TI is focused on ensuring full compliance with FlexRay standards. With final test criteria from the consortium in 2005, our customers will benefit immediately from FlexRay's advanced, fault tolerant communications protocol in their systems" said Matthias Poppel, worldwide advanced embedded control automotive marketing manager, TI. "Right now, however, customers can start implementing sophisticated motor control techniques for increased fuel efficiency and reduced weight electronic power steering and integrated alternator starter applications with our AEC Q-100 qualified C2000 controllers."

AEC Q-100 Qualified C28x Controllers Enable EPS and ISA for Leading OEMs

Demands for safety and communications are not the only trends increasing the electronic content in automobiles. Currently, there is increased pressure to improve automotive fuel efficiency, not just because of high fuel costs, but also to meet increasingly strict emissions standards worldwide. Switching from a hydraulic steering system to an electromechanical model eliminates the constant drag on the engine while the reduced weight contributes to overall fuel economy.

As TI's first AEC Q-100 qualified DSPs, C28x digital signal controllers are ideal for high-performance automotive motor control applications such as electronic power steering (EPS) and integrated starter alternators (ISAs). EPS and ISA systems require high performance, real time processing to reduce overall weight, manufacturing time and increase fuel economy and reliability. Estimates indicate that EPS leads to a fuel economy improvement of approximately three to four percent and that ISA can lower emissions up to fifteen percent. TI's C28x controllers' enhanced bus structures offer high math efficiency while vectored peripheral interrupt structures give highly responsive interrupt responses at 80 nano-seconds. This rate allows automotive designs to respond in real time to events and provide an intelligent mix of 16- and 32-bit instructions to give the superior code densities required for the reliable, high-performance motors EPS and ISAs need. With 150 million instructions per second (MIPS) of DSP performance, C28x controllers are paving the way for automotive designers to migrate to digital signal controllers without giving up the peripherals and ease of use they have come to expect from MCUs.

AEC Q-100 qualification standards regulate part qualification methods for the automotive market by detailing automotive stress tests, defining minimum stress test driven qualification requirements and referencing test conditions for the qualification of integrated circuits. TI automotive solutions include a complete range of analog and mixed signal, DSP, advanced embedded controls, audio, and Sensors & Controls.