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Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

Starlink Premium; new U.S. cybersecurity review board; Keysight O-RAN tools.

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Pervasive computing, IoT and 5G
The U.S. company SpaceX deployed more satellites into LEO (low earth orbit) Starlink constellation and launched a premium service for businesses that costs $500 a month, bringing download speeds of 150-500 Mbps and latency of 20-40ms. The regular Starlink service is $99 a month. Starlink has launched over 2,000 satellites into its constellation, according to stats collected by astronomers. The U.S. just denied China’s claims that the Starlink constellation is putting China’s space station crew in jeopardy.

Australian plant and environmental monitoring company ICT International is using Semtech’s LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN standard for a system that monitors aquaculture water quality.

Altice Labs is verifying the performance of its O-RAN radio units with selected the Keysight O-RAN Radio Architect (KORA) tools, which is a platform that emulates O-RAN distributed units (O-DUs) and supports a wide range of test cases.

Keysight also has expanded its high-speed digital 800G test solution portfolio, which can help data centers use optical transceiver ecosystems. Data centers are moving to 800G data center connectivity technology, to accommodate and reduce the power use of data-hungry applications.

isMedia’s UCI72S frame grabber product is shipping with Mixel’s MIPI C-PHY/D-PHY Combo IC, which provides a total aggregate bandwidth of 13.68 Gbps in C-PHY mode and 10 Gbps in D-PHY mode respectively. The frame grabbers support sensor applications and multiple video formats.

Automotive
Tesla is officially recalling the Full Self-Driving (Beta) firmware (FSD Beta) in its Model S, X, 3 and Y cars to remove the “rolling stop” feature in its firmware. Cars with FSD Beta — which is test software that drivers could use in their cars for $12,000 — were programed to roll through 4-way stops at 5 mph under specific conditions. The recall could affect 54,000 vehicles but it will be done over the air (OTA), which was how FSD Beta was installed in the first place in October 2020. The recall comes after negative public reaction that a car would be programmed to break traffic laws, which the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) agreed was unsafe. The company is also recalling via OTA over 817,000 vehicles because the driver’s seat belt chime fails to chime under certain conditions — a software error.

RISC-V processor and tools company Codasip has appointed a functional safety vice president with expertise in ISO 26262 to help support customers working on automotive projects, particularly connected and autonomous vehicles. Codasip has tapped Dave Higham, a functional safety automotive expert recently who served as the principal functional safety engineer at Imagination Technologies. He was a functional safety manager at Delphi. “With his decades of experience at Delphi, one of the automotive industry’s Tier One technology suppliers, plus years of experience in multiple global semiconductor vendors, Dave brings to Codasip an unparalleled understanding of FuSa,” said Karel Masařík, Codasip’s founder & president in a press release.

Ansys released its design tool, Ansys 2022 R1, which introduces Phi Plus meshing technology for complex system simulation, such as 3D IC packaging challenges. Also added is the RedHawk-SC SigmaDVD, which identifies the worst-case dynamic voltage-drop in hours using statistically realistic modeling technique makes it possible to achieve near 100% coverage of all relevant switching scenarios of neighboring cells, making chip designs more robust and giving chip designers greatly expanded confidence in RedHawk-SC’s golden signoff analysis. New workflows and integrations in Ansys 2022 R1 produce even greater insight into product performance. In this latest release, Ansys Sherlock features a new, semi-automated workflow that takes advantage of integrations with Ansys AEDT Icepak to deliver more predictively accurate thermal analysis simulations for PCBs.

Security
More Apple OS security flaws were reported this week and more fixes were issued.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has created a new Cyber Safety Review Board (CSRB) to look at significant cyber attacks. The 15 board members are from the public and private sectors, with Robert Silvers, DHS under secretary for policy, serving as chair and Heather Adkins, Google’s senior director for security engineering as deputy chair. CISA (DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) will select board members and manage, fund, convene the CSRB. The log4j vulnerability will be the first review business of the board.

SEMI Taiwan published a fab equipment cybersecurity specification designed to help secure the chip manufacturing supply chain. The first version of the specification, SEMI E187, released in January, lays out basic rules for securing four main areas:

  • Computer operation systems (operating systems, documentation),
  • Network (support secure transmission protocols, documentation)
  • Endpoint protection (vulnerability mitigation, malware scanning, access control, documentation)
  • Monitoring (log management)

Last week CEVA introduced security IP for chiplets. The IP has been adopted by the Department of Defense’s State-of-the-Art Heterogeneous Integrated Packaging (SHIP) program and is being used by Lockheed Martin and an unnamed semiconductor company. The Fortrix SecureD2D IP implements both leader and follower termination points and uses a controller and hardware-based crypto accelerators that perform rapid encryption and decryption. The controller communicates to the accelerators over a secure mesh fabric.

Companies, people
Siemens EDA’s vice president of engineering, Anant Adke, was elected to the Silicon Integration Initiative (SI2) board of directors, to replace Juan Rey, who retired from Siemens EDA in December.

The American Semiconductor Academy (ASA) Initiative and SEMI formed a partnership to create a workforce development program that increases microelectronics industry’s talent pool. “With the semiconductor industry investing heavily to expand manufacturing capacity and design capabilities to keep pace with chip demand, the microelectronics industry is facing a shortage of talent that threatens to severely limit future growth and innovation,” said Ajit Manocha, SEMI president and CEO, in a press release. “The partnership between the ASA Initiative and SEMI will unite key university educators with leading semiconductor industry visionaries to strengthen the entire talent development pipeline – from K-12 STEM and higher education through career training and the integration of military veterans into the workforce. This partnership is well timed with the America COMPETES Act of 2022 pending in the House and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act passed by the Senate promising to inject significant funding into efforts to equip workers with the skills needed in today’s semiconductor industry.”

Read more news at Manufacturing, Test and Design, Low Power.

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