Week in Review: IoT, Security, Automotive

Auto safety test tools; 4 GHz radar test; faster PHYs; Intel security flaws; IIoT cards.


Connectivity, 5G
Rambus has revealed a PCI Express 5.0 interface on advanced 7nm finFET process node for heterogenous computing aimed at performance-intensive uses, such as AI, data center, HPC, storage and 400GbE networking. With a PHY and a digital controller core recently acquired Northwest Logic, the interface has 32 GT/s (gigatransfers per second) bandwidth per lane with 128 GB/s bandwidth in x16 configuration. The PHY supports PCIe Compute Express Link (CXL).

Cadence announced a new high-performance, low-latency die-to-die PHY IP for AI/ML, 5G, cloud computing and networking. Called UltraLink D2D PHY IP, the IP supports multi-chip modules on organic substrates. It is silicon proven in an advanced 7nm finFET process.

Cadence PCIe-5.0.

Intel has not patched all of the security flaws that were exposed by a group of Dutch researchers, The New York Times reported on Tuesday, November 12. The researchers, who were eventually paid $120,000 for finding the flaw, said Intel is deciding to fix all the variants of the problem instead of redesigning the processor to get rid of the flaw. The flaw enables some data to remain in memory after its use was cancelled. The data remains just long enough for someone to access it. Intel has released patches for the issue. Intel explains its update process here.

Lattice Semiconductor has updated its software for Lattice Diamond 3.11 design software to make it possible to access the MachXO3D FPGA’s security features. The security features protect system firmware against data and design theft, product cloning and overbuilding, and tampering.

National Instruments launched an electric vehicle hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) test architecture for powertrain components, such as the traction inverter, DC/DC converter and charger. NI worked with OPAL-RT, which makes an automotive HIL testbench, to be sure OPAL-RT’s models and NI’s architecture work together well. NI is also working with ETAS GmbH on advance hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) validation in their joint venture ETAS NI Systems. The companies are building a pre-integrated HIL system that they intend will shorten design cycles and reduce test time.

NI also launched a 4 GHz vehicle radar test system (VRTS) that can enable 79 GHz radar sensors to be tested by simulating two objects per angle with a repeatable radar cross section (RCS). According to NI’s press release, “The RCS makes the simulated obstacle appropriate for both validation and production test.” This will save time during test of 4 GHz, which is complex to test because it has higher resolution and velocity — in other words, more data to process.

IDTechEx‘s recent report “Radars 2020-2030: Technologies, Future Trends, Forecasts” says ADAS and autonomous vehicle radar materials are beginning to shift again, to Si CMOS or SOI from SiGe. (SiGe already replaced GaAs.) IDTechEx says “The shift towards Si CMOS and similar will enable more function integration into radar chips. Indeed, we show how radars have evolved from having a separate chip for each function to single-chip radars. The latest SiGe BiCMOS and some recent Si CMOS radar chips include multiple transceivers, monitoring functions, waveform generators, and an ADC. The latest Si CMOS generations even include a microcontroller with memory as well as a digital signal processing unit (DSP). This clearly shows the trend towards single-chip solutions which will result in significant cost-reduction and volume-production potential.”

Consumer Reports’ survey on reliability of cars found that car owners surveyed about the reliability of their new cars had the most trouble with newly designed and newly redesigned models. Even those who purchased models closer to the end of production run did better. “In general, we found that it can take automakers two to three years—or even longer—to address problems in newly redesigned models,” says Jon Linkov in his Consumer Reports article. Consumer Reports advises readers to wait before buying newly redesigned cars.

Turning a smart phone into a car key is what NXP makes possible with its new automotive ultra-wideband chip, NXP NCJ29D5. The chip adds spatial awareness to cars and smart devices through UWB localization capabilities, “to enable cars to know exactly where the users are,” says an NXP press release.

Volkswagen AG has joined SEMI and will be a founding member of the SEMI Global Automotive Advisory Council (GAAC). The GAAC works on automotive technology issues — including reliability and connectivity — promotes industry standards, and helps members align their technology roadmaps. The GAAC has chapters in Europe, the U.S., Japan and Taiwan.”

Xilinx also added two devices to its 16nm automotive line. The Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC 7EV and 11EG offer over 650,000 programmable logic cells and nearly 3,000 DSP slices. The XA 7EV contains a video codec unit for h.264/h.265 encode and decode, while the XA 11EG includes 32 12.5Gb/s transceivers and provides four PCIe Gen3x16 blocks.

Automotive functional safety
Mentor, a Siemens Business, released its open ecosystem for automotive IC functional safety tests called the Tessent Safety ecosystem, which is a suite of Mentor’s tests for automotive systems that can be used with partners’ tests, such as Arm. The ecosystem includes Mentor’s IC test technologies, such as its automotive-grade automatic test pattern generation (ATPG) technology to find transistor and interconnect level defects, and Tessent BISTs (built-in self-tests), such as Tessent LBIST with Observation Scan Technology (LBIST-OST) and Tessent MemoryBIST. LBIST-OST monitors digital logic components and MemoryBIST is an automation flow for design rule checking, test planning, integration, and verification at either the RTL or gate level. Mentor has added Arm Safety Ready IP functionalities like the Cortex-R52 processor. Other features are Tessent DefectSim finds errors in analog/mixed signal…. The Tessent Safety ecosystem is part of Mentor Safe program, Mentor’s ISO 26262 qualification program. Renesas is already using the Tessent Safety ecosystem.

Samsung Foundry has deployed Synopsys TestMAX XLBIST, a built-in system test for automotive safety that Samsung and Synopsys say the self-test system maintains high fault coverage while tolerating indeterminate digital states. Samsung Foundry and Synopsys have been working together on an automotive IC reference flow to achieve ASIL-D (Automotive Safety Integrity Level D — the highest level of ISO 26262’s safety standards, where a chance of a single point of failure must be 1% or less). Samsung says it was able to efficiently implement the dynamic in-system test, which turns itself on during certain vehicle operations, including power-on, drive mode, and power-off.

Internet of Things
IoT product company Digi International’s full fiscal year, which ended September 30, 2019, saw a 12% revenue increase to $254.2 million, net income was $10 million. The IoT product and solutions division revenue was $ $215.3 million and IoT Solutions division, which services 63,000 sites, has revenue of was $38.9 million increased 53.3% from the previous year. Digi International is acquiring Opengear, Inc., a provider of secure IT infrastructure products and software, for $140 million in cash, plus $15 million depending on 2020 performance. OpenGear’s software/firmware is used to manage their data centers and remote network locations.

Aldec is expanding its FPGA Mezzanine Card (FMC) daughter cards for specific IIoT, networking, embedded vision and automotive uses. The cards support FPGA development and ASIC emulation and prototyping. The FMC connectors are based on high pin count (HPC) type, are compliant with ANSI/VITA 57.1, and can achieve individual up to 25 Gb/s per link. Aldec says some configurations can achieve an overall bandwidth of 200 Gb/s between the daughter card and carrier card.


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