Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

Dialog to acquire Adesto; Imagination uncorks BLE IP; Intel-QuTech quantum control chip; Accellera adds functional safety group.


The European Union put out a white paper about artificial intelligence. The United States Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios criticized the EU stance on Thursday as clumsy. “We found, what they actually put out yesterday, really, I think, in some ways clumsily attempts to bucket AI-powered technologies as either ‘high-risk’ or ‘not high-risk,’” he said, according to a news story in Nextgov. “We believe this all-or-nothing approach is not necessarily the best way to approach regulating AI technologies. We think that AI regulations best serves on a spectrum, of sorts,” Kratsios said. Read the EU white paper. The U.S. put out its position in a draft memorandum and executive order in January 2020, according to a story in Nextgov.

Intel Labs working with QuTech, unveiled some features of its new cryogenic quantum control chip, called Horse Ridge, in an ISSCC research paper. The 2020 International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) is going on now in San Francisco. The SoC will be manufactured on Intel’s 22nm FFL (finFET Low Power) CMOS process. The chip is claimed to be able to control 128 qubits.

Internet of Things
Dialog Semiconductor has announced it will acquire Adesto Technologies, which provides semiconductor and systems for IoT, for $500 million enterprise value. The acquisition can help Dialog increase its offerings in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market. Dialog focuses on power management, charging, AC/DC power conversion, Wi-Fi and BLE (Bluetooth low energy). STMicroelectronics is using Adesto ExoXiP octal xSPI flash memory on two of its MCUs, STM32H7A3/7B3 and STM32H7B0, which are designed to be used in graphical, HMI (human machine interfaces) and smart devices that use natural language interfaces. Code executes directly from the external flash device, which keeps the power use lower.

Imagination Technologies has new BLE IP — called iEB110 — that complies with Bluetooth SIG version 5.2 spec and is destined for complex communication SoCs used in small devices such as earbuds and hearing aids. iEB110 includes RF, controller, and host stack IP for Zephyr and Cordio complete with Bluetooth SIG certification and FCC and CE RF compliance.

Data center, cloud
AMD will be using Synopsys’ Fusion Compiler RTL-to-GDSII in its design flow t0 optimize performance its next generation digital designs, including the AMD EPYC processors used in data centers. The new Google Compute Engine N2D virtual machines is based on 2nd generation AMD EPYC processors, by the way.

NanoLock Security, an IoT security provider, and Adesto are working on security for Adesto’s flash-based memory devices embedded in products such as smart meters, sensors and controllers in smart energy, water utilities, industrial facilities and more. The companies’ solution will block unauthorized access by adding hardware root-of-trust. The bad guys can’t take over the devices or add malicious code in flash. Also flash updates are not done at the edge, but more safely the utility data center. Alerts, status and forensic data can be monitored.

Accellera announced that it started a Functional Safety Working Group to standardize the language, format and interoperability of functional safety tracing, which needs to happen during the lifecycle of electronics that must meet functional safety standards, such as ISO 26262 and AEC-Q100 for automotive. Cadence’s Alessandra Nardi is working group chairperson. The first goal is to write a white paper that can layout the possible direction of the standard.

The $16.9 million Q4 2019 sales numbers of CyberOptics, which makes AOI (automated optical inspection) systems using 2D and 3D sensors, dipped from $18.1 million in Q4th 2018 but is up 36% over Q3 2019. The full year 2019 sales, $59 million, are down 8% from $64.7 million in 2018. While coronavirus is slowing some things down, CyberOptics launched two new semiconductor inspection sensors in Q4 2019, so sales will show up in 2020. The visual inspection may be useful for automotive chip inspection.

Nvidia blogged about the robotaxis and who is using its NVIDIA DRIVE Ecosystem automotive Voyage, Optimus Ride, WeRide, Zoox, Didi Chuxing, Pony.AI, among others.

Startup DSP Concepts, which makes Audio Weaver, an audio digital signal processing platform used by Tesla and other automotive OEMs and consumer companies, just received $14.5M Series B funding. The company says its products are used in automotive products made by Porsche, Tesla, Panasonic, Sony, Skoda, Geely, Lucid, Byton, Zoox, Bugatti, Volkswagen, and Alpine.

Ericsson is helping Audi test the use of 5G capabilities for factory automation at the car manufacturer’s P-Labs facility in Germany. They are testing Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication (URLLC).

Qualcomm  Technologies today announced the Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System, its third-generation 5G modem-to-antenna solution (the Snapdragon X60). Snapdragon X60 features the world’s first 5-nanometer 5G baseband and is the world’s first 5G Modem-RF System to support spectrum aggregation across all key 5G bands and combinations, including mmWave and sub-6 using frequency division duplex (FDD) and time division duplex (TDD), providing ultimate operator flexibility to uplift 5G performance utilizing fragmented spectrum assets.

Pankaj Kukkal, vice president of Engineering at Qualcomm Inc., has been elected to the Silicon Integration Initiative (Si2) board of directors. Si2 leads is an R&D joint venture working on IC design tools interoperability.

Ansys appointed Robert Calderoni and Ravi Vijayaraghavan to its board of directors this week.

Kandou Bus will be featured among Europe’s top 50 high-tech scale-ups at this year’s Tech Tour Growth Summit.

SEMI announced the appointment of Timothy Brosnihan as executive director of the MEMS & Sensors Industry Group (MSIG), a SEMI Strategic Association Partner. He has worked for Analog Devices, Pixtronics and Qualcomm, but most recently served as director of MEMS Development at Cirrus Logic.

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