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Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

Solar commuter car launched; Flex Logix ML vision on edge; Arm’s new image signal processor.

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Automotive, mobility
Lightyear, an automotive company based in the Netherlands, announced its solar car, the Lightyear 0, which goes into production this year. The car has a Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) range of 625 kilometers/388 miles and can charge itself while driving or parked, using double curved solar arrays on its roof. The daily charging adds 70 kilometers/44 miles of range per day. The company says a driver who drives 35 kilometers/22 miles a day could drive for months without having to charge the car.

The United States federal government’s executive branch has proposed new EV charging station standards in making EVs and EV charging accessible to all citizens. The standards are for projects funded under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, which is building a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations by 2030.

Infineon announced the second generation of its ISO26262-compliant high-resolution 3D image sensor for automotive in-cabin sensing. Developed with help from pmdtechnologies — 3D time-of-flight system specialist — the REAL3 automotive image sensor can be used for facial recognition and to detect driver fatigue and distraction. The sensor comes in a 9 x 9 mm² plastic BGA package and offers a VGA system resolution of 640 x 480 pixels with an image circle of 4 mm. The high resolution means the REAL3 sensor could be used in wide-field-of-view cameras, “We are now offering high resolution with a tiny image circle to the automotive world. This enables cars with functions from the consumer world, while maintaining automotive standards and even improving passive safety,” said Christian Herzum, vice president 3D Sensing at Infineon in a press release. “For instance, reliable and secure facial authentication allows seamless connectivity for any type of service that requires authentication such as payment, battery charging or accessing private data.”

More time-of-flight sensor news: Metalenz and STMicroelectronics announced their optical metasurface technology for consumer, automotive, and industrial applications. ST’s VL53L8 direct Time-of-Flight (dToF) sensor is the debut of meta-optics devices using Metalenz’s planar optics, which makes them easier to manufacture on silicon wafers. Molded or curved lenses have been the norm. “More than a decade of foundational research has brought us to this point. Market deployment of our meta-optics makes this the first metasurface technology to become commercially available,” said Rob Devlin, co-founder and CEO of Metalenz in a press release. “ST’s technology, manufacturing expertise, and global reach allow us to impact millions of consumers. We have multiple wins that mark the first application of our platform technology and we are now designing entire systems around its unique functionality. Our meta-optics enable exciting new markets and new sensing capabilities in mobile form factors and at a competitive price.”

Cadence launched its Cadence OnCloud SaaS (software as a service) for companies to access PCB design tools (Cadence OrCAD, Cadence Allegro), multiphysics analysis (with Clarity, Sigrity, and Celsius solvers), and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tools (Fidelity CFD Software). “The Cadence OnCloud SaaS and e-commerce platform offers just the right computational compute resources for industry meshing needs. Requiring minimal effort and with an easy transaction process, the platform is straightforward and provides an intuitive user experience,” said Amine Ben Haj Ali, technical expert, engineering at Bombardier, the aircraft designer and manufacturer.

Security
Trustonic, a U.K.-based cybersecurity company that embeds cybersecurity into smart devices and connected vehicles, earned a Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level [EAL] 5+ for its Kinibi secure operating system [OS]. The product met all requirements of the EAL 5+ assurance level. Riscure’s team handled the evaluation campaign.

Infineon is offering a combination of its OPTIGA Trust M Express and CIRRENT Cloud ID, which will provide a hardware anchor of trust used to connect many IoT devices to the cloud. 

Pervasive computing
Renesas will acquire Reality Analytics, Inc. (Reality AI), a U.S.-based company specializing in embedded AI and TinyML for advanced non-visual sensing in automotive, industrial, and commercial products. The acquisition will strengthen Renesas’ software and dev tools offerings and expand its inhouse team. Reality AI’s software platform — Reality AI Tools — provides sensor analytics. Realty AI uses advanced signal processing math for machine learning inference that fits on the smallest MCUs. Key IP, engineering experts, and embedded AI technology come with the deal. “The importance and demand of data at the endpoint is increasing at an unprecedented scale. The acquisition of AI technology is an important milestone to address our customers’ emerging requirements for endpoint intelligence,” said Hidetoshi Shibata, repsident and CEO of Renesas in a press release. “The addition of Reality AI’s AI solutions to our existing embedded AI portfolios will further solidify our position as a leading AIoT solution provider.”

Arm introduced a new image signal processor (ISP) for vision systems in the IoT and embedded markets. The Arm Mali-C55 ISP is smaller than other Arm ISPs and can take inputs from up to eight cameras. The image resolution goes up to 8K with a maximum image size of 48 megapixels. The ISP data can flow into ML accelerators for edge processing of AI. Renesas is an early licensees seeing success.

Flex Logix launched a new platform for developers to add AI/ML capability and models to process vision data on the edge.  The company’s EasyVision Platforms offers models for edge computer vision products for markets such as robotic vision, industrial, security, and retail analytics. The platform has Flex Logix’ InferX edge AI accelerator, with models that detect objects such as hard-hat, face mask, and license plate recognition.

Ansys announced two new semiconductors to optimize power and reliability for automotive, 5G, and high-performance compute semiconductors. The Totem-SC runs power integrity analysis for analog, mixed-signal, memory, and image sensor designs. The PathFinder-SC is used for electrostatic discharge (ESD) reliability signoff. The chips are being integrated into Ansys SeaScape big-data platform for distributed processing.

Artificial intelligence (AI) in chip design is reaping some rewards. Both MediaTek and Renesas reported solid PPA and productivity improvements on advanced node chips using Cadence’s Cerebrus Intelligent Chip Explorer, which uses a reinforcement learning engine to find power and die size savings.

Test company, DEKRA will be collaborating with and using tools from Keysight to prove that the regulatory test cases will work when the EU validates if mobile phones in Europe comply with the EU regulation requiring the phone’s location be known to emergency services who call E112. E112 is an enhanced version of the 112 emergency-services phone number in the EU. The EU regulations require that chipset and device vendors enable mobile phones to make their locations known to emergency services. Via location-based services (LBS) and global navigation satellite system (GNSS) technologies, the test validation will check if users comprehensively address 5G new radio (NR) conformance requirements mandated by the Global Certification Forum (GCF) and PTCRB, an organization comprised of North American mobile operators.

Bruker introduced XFlash 7, an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDS) detector for elemental analysis in electron microscopes. The detectors come in a range of sizes, shapes, and window materials. The models provide the maximum collect ion angle for X-rays emitted by the sample, i.e., the optimal ratio between active detector area and sample-detector distance, for a given microscope sample chamber geometry.

People, companies
KLA’s WISE (Women in STEM, Empowered) and KLA Foundation are funding women entrepreneurs in underrepresented communities to get education and start or improve businesses via microloans.

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

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