Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

MEMS scanner for AR; IoT wildfire warning system; Siemens EV charging system.


Intel’s Mobileye and Sixt SE said they are collaborating on an autonomous ride-hailing services in Munich in 2022. Mobileye will own the robotaxi fleet. Mobileye also recently unveiled its electric autonomous vehicle (AV), which it will use in ridehailing in Munich and Tel Aviv..

To increase the supply of automotive chips, Intel said it will build new chip manufacturing facilities in Europe and devote capacity at its Ireland fab. To help move automotive chip designs into advanced nodes, the company is starting the Intel Foundry Services Accelerator for automotive customers in Europe.

Cadence now has a qualified Mixed-Signal OpenAccess-ready process design kit (PDK) that supports Samsung Foundry’s process technologies from 28FDS to GAA base 3nm. According to a press release, the PDK will improve productivity on mixed-signal designs destined for data centers, networking, 5G, mobile, industrial, and automotive applications. Some of the features of the PDK are advanced floorplanning and pin optimization, block and chip routing capabilities that include pre-routing of sensitive analog nets and a router with in-design DFM hotspot detection, and improved static timing and EM-IR analysis.

Siemens uncorked its U.S. launch of its fast charging modular charging system for electric buses, trucks and heavy-duty vehicles last week. Siemens will build its SICHARGE UC charging system in the United States in Wendell, North Carolina, one of three of Siemen’s eMobility hubs in the U.S. The SICHARGE UC system can deliver 150 kW up to 600 kW of flexible power at a depot or at en-route stations, the company said. Owners of the charging system can use Siemens’ cloud-based depot management services and support throughout the lifetime of the systems. “We’ve developed the SICHARGE UC to support the commitments of states, city managers, and fleet operators across the United States by providing a customizable EV charging solution that can quickly and easily integrate into existing depots with lower installation costs,” said John DeBoer, head of Siemens eMobility solutions and Future Grid Business in North America. Siemens has committed to manufacturing over 1 million chargers, including residential and commercial, in the U.S. over the next four years.

A video of SICHARGE UC system. Source: YouTube/Siemens

Infineon unveiled a MEMS scanner for adding augmented reality (AR) to eyeglasses and head-up displays (HUDs). The scanner chipset is a laser beam scanner (LBS) with a tilting MEMS mirror and MEMS driver. An LBS is a low-power micro-display technology with a large field of view for AR HUDs. Infineon is working with startup TriLite Technologies. TriLite has a good description of LBSes in an abstract of technical article.

Huawei debuted an AR-HUD at IAA MOBILITY 2021.

The global market for collision-avoidance sensors will hit $12.25 Billion by 2030, reports Allied Research. The research firm says the market was $4 Billion in 2020, a CAGR of 11.9%. The radar segment accounted for the largest market share at one third of share, while ultrasound will have the fastest CAGR of 14% by 2030. Technology segments also include camera, ultrasound lidar, among others, and the market function types are categorized into adaptive, automated, monitoring, and warning.

Qualcomm is working with Google and Renault Group on an infotainment system and cockpit for the Mégane E-TECH Electric vehicle based on Qualcomm’s 3rd Generation Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platform. Google will provide the apps and maps.

TÜV SÜD has certified that NXP’s cybersecurity engineering processes are compliant with automotive cybersecurity standard ISO/SAE 21434.

Semiconductor manufacturer ROHM and Geely Automobile Group, a Chinese automobile manufacturer working on EVs, have formed a strategic partnership to develop advanced technologies for automotive. They are exploring the use of ROHM’s SiC power devices in high-efficiency traction inverters and onboard charging systems.

NASA began testing an electric air taxi at Joby’s Electric Flight Base located near Big Sur, California. NASA said in a statement that test of the vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft will provide NASA with vehicle performance and acoustic data for use in modeling and simulation of future airspace concepts. It may also help in identifying gaps in FAA rules. The testing completes today.

At a test facility in Turku, Finland, an IoT system on a 5G network is helping park remotely controlled cars. The system could be used in automotive factories for moving and tracking newly made cars. The trial uses Ericsson’s 5G private network, through edge computing and software company Unikie’s Automated Factory Parking (AFP) system.

Pervasive computing
An IoT startup based in Germany, Dryad Networks has created a wildfire early-warning and forest-health IoT system and wants to test it on forests via forestry businesses who volunteer and sign up by September 30th. The company launched its Silvanet system in July of 2021. Silvanet are solar-powered sensors that measure gas, temperature, humidity, and air pressure. The nodes detect smoke, hydrogen, and other gases. Using LoRa, the nodes connect to mesh and border gateways, again solar-powered, that in turn connect to analytics tools in the cloud. A video (with no audio) shows what the systems look like.

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is researching into another aspect of wildfires — embers. Embers, or burning debris known as firebrands, can get sucked high in the air and travel far to start new fires. Predicting where embers will go is the purpose of NIST’s new emberometer equipment, which so far has measured the trajectory of embers in lab settings but will be used in the field in controlled wildfires. The goal is to add some AI and eventually be able to use what is learned for building codes, among other uses. “We want to be able to look at the fuel type, topography and weather, and have an idea of how serious an ember exposure might be for a structure,” said Nicolas Bouvet, a NIST combustion specialist. “Building codes can use that information to advise you on how to harden your structure. If you’re somewhere in the middle of a grass field, it’s not going to be the same as if you’re surrounded by tall trees.”

South Korean telecommunications operator SK Telecom (SKT) will use Arteris IP FlexNoC interconnect IP in the next version of the telecom’s SAPEON artificial intelligence SoCs. SKT unveiled its self-developed AI chip the SAPEON X220 in November 2020. SKT said at the time that chip used 20% less power than GPUs. The chip was used to improve its voice recognition in STK’s NUGU, among other uses for STK and its affiliates.

Smart eyeglasses in the news, with Facebook announcing Ray-Ban sunglasses that have a 5MP camera for video and still photos, operated by voice commands or by hand. An LED lights up to warn that the glasses are recording. A three-microphone audio array can also capture sound, and speakers are built in for listening to phone calls or video. Beamforming and an algorithm for background noise suppression. Of course, the eyeglasses “content” is all easily uploadable to Facebook with an app. FB has a do’s and don’t’s page for privacy and security.

Adlink launched a platform for making edge vision analytics (EVA) software that can be used to quickly develop an AI vision proof of concept that will run on edge devices.

The global medical robotics market will reach $22.23 Billion USD in 2027 — a CAGR of 16.1% since 2020, according to a report from AllTheResearch. Medical robotics systems are used for surgery, hospital and pharmacy, assistive and rehabilitation, and non-invasive radiosurgery.

Microsoft patched a vulnerability with Azure Container Instances (ACI), which Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 42 found and dubbed Azurescape. The vulnerability enables one Azure user to break out of its own containers and execute code on containers owned by others. 

A report from Rapid 7, a cloud security company, found that most cloud misconfigurations happen because a company wants to cloud access easier. Rapid-7 studied 121 publically disclosed data breaches. AWS S3 and ElasticSearch databases accounted for 45% of the incidents, and healthcare, entertainment, and information industries had the most incidents.

Citrix released a security update for a vulnerability in its Hypervisor.

Companies, people
The foundry UMC and Chipbond Technology Corporation are exchanging shares, which will establish a long-term strategic partnership to integrate frontend and backend processes for driver IC production. Chipboard provides backend assembly processing of LCD driver ICs from wafer bumping to packaging, and has two fabs in the Hsinchu Science Park in Taiwan.

Merck’s electronics business has benefited from diversity, according to an insightful SEMI interview. “I encourage all companies to invest in strong leaders, strive for 50/50 gender representation in the workplace, and provide scheduling flexibility to employees,” said Aurelie Ludemann, head of product research in display solutions for the Electronics Business of Merck. 

Lam Research Corp announced that it is opening a new 45,000-square-foot facility in Sherwood, Oregon, for semiconductor manufacturing equipment in December 2021.

Ansys will start selling its simulation products in Japan, with a special focus on small to mid-sized companies. SB C&S — a subsidiary of SoftBank — will be an Ansys distributor in Japan.

Rupert Baines, former CEO of UltraSoC — sold to Siemens in June 2020, has joined Codasip as chief marketing officer and a member of the management supervisory board.

Si2 has awarded its Silicon Integration Initiative Pinnacle Award to Joydip Das, staff engineer at Samsung Austin Research & Development Center in Austin, Texas, for his contribution to the Si2’s AI/ML in EDA Special Interest Group. Das has chaired the group since its inception in October 2019.

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