Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

U.S. to harden against quantum attacks; LoRa satellite system; Ansys snags Motor-CAD; Infineon Fab25 green power.


Automotive, mobility
Stellantis is buying Share Now, a car sharing service owned by BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Through the acquisition, Stellantis will be adding 3.4 million car sharing customers, 10,000 vehicles, and 14 new European cities to its Free2move car sharing service, which currently has 2 million users, 2,500 vehicles, and has 7 “mobility hubs” in the U.S. and Europe. ShareNow was a joint venture between Mercedes-Benz Mobility Group and BMW Group. Free2Move also acquiring Opel Rent, which covers Germany and Austria.

The Volkswagen Group‘s software company CARIAD will be using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Ride Platform portfolio for system-on-chips (SoCs) to run assisted and automated driving functions up to Level 4.

Volkswagen is upping its electric car and battery investment in Spain to €10B ($10.6B), which is €3B more than previously promised. Spain’s power utility company Iberdrola will construct a solar park which will help provide the power to the battery plant, located near Valencia, in the city of Sagunto. Chinese EV battery component company Semcorp will invest $916M in a EV component manufacturing plant in Sidney, Ohio, according to Reuters.

Sondrel is using Arteris IP’s FlexNoC interconnect IP for its next-generation advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) IP. FlexNoC is being used in Sondrel’s SFA 350A IP, part of a family of IP reference platforms for custom designs of multi-channel automotive SoCs. The SFA 350A has four channels for sensors (either passive for optical camera inputs or active using lidar and radar).

The BMW Group and Ansys continue their collaboration on their ADAS end-to-end development and validation tool chain. BMW Group wants to be able to offer Level 3 (L3) highly automated driving and needs to create detailed test plans to do so, which Ansys’ software manages. In other news, Ansys will be acquiring Motor Design Limited (MDL), whose product Motor-CAD is used for designing motors. The addition of Motor-CAD helps Ansys offer a more comprehensive multiphysics workflow for electric machine design.

For verifying its RISC-V IP, Codasip is adding OneSpin IC verification tools from Siemens EDA to its processor verification tools. Siemens EDA’s OneSpin includes highly advanced formal verification tools for automotive and other high-integrity processor applications. CodaSip sees RISC-V as a low cost way for automotive industry to try new things and differentiate. “We are unlocking the true potential of RISC-V by providing our customers with best-in-class quality IP and processor design automation technology with the potential to enable and accelerate the innovation that the automotive industry needs through processor customization. In a reshaping world and supply chain, we are enabling innovation at a much lower cost, removing the barrier to entry, leading into ownership of the processor design,” writes Jamie Broome, vice president of automotive at Codasip in a recent blog.

Pervasive computing
EchoStar Mobile launched a geostationary satellite-based LoRa (long range) IoT service that covers Europe. The company uses bi-directional long range protocols. “LoRa connectivity makes up 45% of today’s global IoT networks; it’s perfect for connecting low-powered ‘things,’ yet its reliance on terrestrial connectivity restricts its usefulness,” said Telemaco Melia, vice president and general manager of EchoStar Mobile, in a press release. “Replacing fiber and cable with satellite connectivity, the EchoStar Mobile solution is the first real-time, bi-directional LoRa service with mobile and remote capabilities. Accelerating the adoption of massive IoT, our program already spans more than 10,000 devices, with the service expected to scale to millions of devices in Europe alone.”

Rambus is acquiring the electronic design company Hardent to further boost the chip company’s CXL development for data centers. Hardent is known for silicon design, verification, compression, and expertise in error correction code (ECC). “Driven by the demands of advanced workloads like AI/ML and the move to disaggregated data center architectures, industry momentum for CXL-based solutions continues to grow,” said Luc Seraphin, president and CEO of Rambus in a press release. “The addition of the highly-skilled Hardent design team brings key resources that will accelerate our roadmap and expand our reach to address customer needs for next-generation data center solutions.” Hardent also brings to Rambus its IP for automotive and consumer electronic applications. The deal is due to close Q2 2022.

Qualcomm debuted its Wi-Fi 7 networking platform. Wi-Fi 7, also known as 802.11be and IEEE 802.11be Extremely High Throughput (EHT), will support 320MHz transmissions and multi-link operation, among other innovations.

Not exactly on the IoT scale, Bruker launches its minispec Droplet Size Analyzer 2.0 for use in analyzing texture and stability in food and cosmetics. The tool uses time domain (TD) nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to analyze droplet size and distribution in single and double emulsions.

European-based semiconductor equipment supplier Infinitesima is using PDF Solutions’ Cimetrix CIMControlFramework software in its Metron3D metrology system, targeting the 300mm fab. The software gives users of Metron3D a way to precisely control equipment and data connectivity of the Metron3D’s rapid probe microscope (RPM) feature. “We have extensive experience helping customers successfully deliver equipment to 300mm factories and this experience can be a vital asset in situations where a company may have limited or no familiarity with the 300mm factory requirements,” said Bob Reback, vice president and general manager of Cimetrix products at PDF Solutions, in a press release.

The United States government wants to harden its computer systems against attacks that use quantum computing systems to crack encryption. The U.S. President Biden signed an executive order on May 4th that establishes an advisory committee that will advise the president and two National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) subcommittees, but also he issued an order to work on mitigating risks. In 90 days after the signing, “agencies that fund research in, develop, or acquire quantum computers shall coordinate with the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to ensure a coherent national strategy for QIS promotion and technology protection, including for workforce issues,” according to the order. The order lays out step by step, who and when planning and actions will be taken. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and other agencies will play a role.

NIST released new guidance on management practices for cybersecurity risks in supply chains used by the U.S. federal government. The audience are those involved in C-SCRM or cybersecurity supply chain risk management, and has guidelines for acquisition of software and services, maintenance, and The guidelines do not supersede any stricter guidelines for national security systems, Federal Risk and Authorization Program (FedRAMP) for cloud service, and other mandated rules from secretary of Commerce or the director of OMB (Office of Management and Budget).

People, companies
SEMI has appointed Paul Trio as director of the SEMI International Standards program, effective immediately. Trio has over 20 years of experience at SEMI working on standards, including most recently working on traceability and zero defects on the Collaborative Alliance for Semiconductor Test (CAST) and Semiconductor, Components and Instrumentation and Subsystems (SCIS). He replaces James Amano, who has been tapped to lead the SEMI Sustainability Initiative.

Infineon Technologies’ Fab25 in Austin, Texas is now running on 100% green power, most it from wind power. Infineon is using certified renewable power from Austin Energy that is sourced from local wind farms in Texas. Fab25, which became part of Infineon in the April 2020 Cypress Semiconductor acquisition, produces up to one billion semiconductor chips per year for major automotive, industrial, medical, and communications companies throughout the world. Fab25 is a 200mm, where Infineon manufactures and tests NOR flash and MCU products in 65nm. More than 1,000 people work at the fab. Also Infineon has a 200mm/300mm wafer test facility in Austin, called Test25. Infineon plans to use green power for all of its U.S. sites by the end of the 2022.


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