Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

Renesas’ NB-IoT chipset for India; Google tests Intel’s TDX; improving mmW for self-driving cars.


Pervasive computing

Renesas introduced a narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) chipset and dev kit for the Indian market. The LTE NB-IoT modem chipset, the RH1NS200, was designed for Indian telecommunications carriers by targeting bands 1,3, 5 and 8 and by following India’s carrier-approved LTE protocol stack and software suite. Low power usage is built in — it has a low Power Saving Mode (PSM) of 1µA in deep sleep with longer eDRX cycles. The transmit power support is up to 23dBm for all bands and operating supply voltage range of 2.2V to 5.5V.

Renesas says the chipset is ideal for Indian smart metering market and in asset tracking, lighting, security and numerous other applications. India is the second-largest telecommunications market in the world, according to Open Signal, at over 1.1 billion subscriptions. Wireless telephones account for 98% of connections in India. Two carriers have commercially launched 5G in IndiaArtel and Jio.

Axelera AI, a provider of AI at the edge, has licensed Arteris IP’s FlexWay for SoC connectivity in the Axelera AI’s Metis AI platform for computer vision AI inference at the edge.

Omdia predicts that NB-IoT and LoRa will account for 87% of all LPWAN connections in 2028, growing at a CAGR of 23% from 2022 to 2028, according to Omdia’s latest research. In 2022, 90% of global NB-IoT connections were in China, but it now being considered by some European providers (Telefonica and DT) to cover remote areas via satellite-based NB-IoT. LoRA is doing well. “LoRaWAN has had several years of unchallenged growth, building momentum, and gaining maturity,” said Shobhit Srivastava, senior principal analyst, Omdia, in a press release. “It’s success in the future remains as it has differentiated offerings and a value that NB-IoT cannot easily match. LoRa has unmatched accessibility for companies deploying IoT applications. This accessibility has made LoRaWAN one of the favorites of small developers, the maker community, and over-the-top (OTT) IoT networks, such as The Things Network.”

A collaborative project called ParasiteWeb is streamlining proficiency testing (PT) of clinical laboratory results. Fraunhofer IIS, Nobit OHG, and the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM) worked together to make a virtual proficiency test by creating a database and platform that will eliminate much of the manual sample collecting in bio samples (stool and blood) used to verify that a lab’s results in identifying the presence of parasites in samples are accurate. “Instead of all the samples that the Bernhard Nocht Institute would otherwise have to prepare for these proficiency tests, just a single sample is now needed. We digitize the sample using state-of-the-art scanners and make it available on an online platform in collaboration with our licensing partner, Nobit OHG,” said Chief Scientist Michaela Benz, project leader at Fraunhofer IIS, in a press release.

A comfortable, 24-hour wearable wireless electro-mechanical e-tattoo has had success in measuring multiple cardiac time intervals on five human wearers but needs to go on to a larger trial. The tattoo has two e-tattoo sensers that detect two types of information — bio-electric cardiac signals via electrocardiography and mechanical cardiac rhythm via seismocardiography. The researchers then synchronized the sensor data via a low-power peripheral to accurately measure systolic time intervals (pre-ejection period and left ventricular ejection time), comparing favorably with clinically approved gold-standard instruments. Researchers are from University of Texas at Austin and Georgia Tech conclude in their research that a comfortable patch could be worn as a preventable measure for detecting heart disease and to get an early warning of serious cardiac events. See their paper published in Advanced Electronic Materials in April 2023 at https://doi.org/10.1002/aelm.202201284.

Global Unichip Corp. (GUC) used Cadence’s 112G-LR SerDes on its HBM3/GLink/CoWoS platform, and it is now silicon proven.

Automotive, mobility 

Toyota, the largest car manufacturer by amount sold, said its global sales were up year-on-year for fiscal year 2023 (April 2022 to March 2023), but cautioned that chip supply and other issues could slow down its production. The company experienced a rebound in sales, with the Toyota brand selling 9.6 million vehicles and producing 9.1 million vehicles in FY2023. Recently Toyota pledged to reduce CO2 emissions from ‘Well to Wheel’ through hybrids, EVs, and fuel cells, among other tools. By 2030, the company pledges to have reduced its CO2 emissions by 33% of its 2019 level. Toyota’s BEV sales are going up overall, year-over-year.

Honda Motor announced that its working with TSMC to ensure a stable supply of automotive chips. Honda also announced plans to accelerate its electric vehicle program.

Schweizer Electronic and Infineon Technologies are embedding Infineon’s 1,200 V CoolSiC chips directly onto printed circuit boards (PCBs) using Schweizer’s p²Pack process. Embedding chips into PCBs makes switching faster, which the companies say lows system costs and will lead to an increase in range for EVs. Embedding a 48 V MOSFET in the PCB resulted in a 35 percent increase in performance. “Our joint goal is to take automotive power electronics to the next level,” said Infineon’s Robert Hermann, product line head automotive high-voltage discretes and chips, in a press release. “The low-inductive environment of a PCB allows clean and fast switching.”

Infineon and STABL Energy are working together on a pilot project in Germany and Switzerland to make stationary energy storage systems (in one case using spent KIA batteries for solar power storage) from retired electric passenger car batteries that can be connected to with various residual capacities to the public power grid without the use of a central inverter. “We can use MOSFETs from Infineon to integrate power electronics and batteries with one another. In this way, we are developing more flexible and safer solutions for connecting energy storage systems to the public power grid,” says Arthur Singer, founder and co-CEO of STABL Energy in a press release. He said the system cuts both operating costs and CO2 emissions by up to 40 percent per year.

Bosch plans to acquire TSI Semiconductors, a U.S. ASIC foundry based in Roseville, California, and transform it to produce silicon carbide (SiC) chips on 200-millimeter wafers by 2026. TSI already produces chips on 200-millimeter silicon wafers. Bosch will invest 1.5 billion USD, along with funding via the U.S. CHIPS and Science Act and economic development opportunities within the State of California.

New standards for co-packaged optics are helping with CPO adoption — speed, density, distance, and heat all need to be considered.

TSMC, Synopsys, Ansys, and Keysight are working together on a new millimeter wave (mmWave) reference flow for autonomous vehicles. The design reference flow is for a 79-GHz transmitter power amplifier design with efficient power conversion and a receiver low-noise amplifier design with low-noise figure, targeting TSMC’s 16nm FinFET Compact Technology (16FFC) process. The companies using the companies established tools and processes. 

Ansys’ multiphysics tools Redhawk-SC and Totem are now certified for TSMC’s N2 process, the process that adopts the adopts nanosheet transistor structure. Ansys’ tools are used for thermal self-heat effects for chip reliability and design optimization. Ansys has also joined TSMC’s OIP Cloud Alliance.

Cadence, Synopsys, Siemens also had process certifications on TSMC’s processes. Among other certifications, Siemens EDA’s Calibre platform was certified for N3E and N2; Analog FastSPICE platform certified for N5A, N3E, and N2; and Tanner software for 16nm. Cadence delivered new 3D-IC design flows supporting of the TSMC 3Dblox Standard; has been certified to support TSMC’s new DRM for advanced N3E and N2 nodes; delivered N3E and N2 process design kits (PDKs); and added automated IC design migration in Virtuoso to TSMC’s latest process tech.

U.S. car company GM joined and contributed its uProtocol to the open-source software Eclipse Foundation.

Machine learning is coming into its own in EDA as companies roll out more tools.


Google Project Zero and Google Cloud found that Intel’s Trust Domain Extensions (TDX) security had 10 confirmed security vulnerabilities, which were fixed before the final release of products with TDX. Intel worked with the Google teams to have the TDX system tested against common vulnerabilities. TDX supports confidential computing, which uses virtual machines to isolates hardware from guests accessing the data. Working with Intel engineers on pre-released code, the Google teams found the 10 issues but also a new way of working on security issues, which they distilled in a reportreviewing Intel’s TDX. “With the analysis now complete and the vulnerabilities addressed, the Intel and Google security teams agree that the Intel firmware which enables Confidential Computing solutions meets an elevated security bar for customers, as the firmware updates motivated by this review mitigate several bug classes and offer a way to recover from vulnerabilities,” writes Cfir Cohen, Staff Software Engineer, Google Cloud and Andrés Lagar-Cavilla, Principal Engineer Platform Security, Google, in their blog.


Recent automotive technical papers:

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Recent AI/ML/DL

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Recent security technical papers:

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Further reading

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