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Home > Other > Leading-edge Electronics add Soup to Drivers Through Wireless Networks

Leading-edge Electronics add Soup to Drivers Through Wireless Networks.

Update Time: 2022-06-15 16:15:58

Today, microelectronics enable advanced safety features, new information and entertainment services, and greater energy efficiency. For the most advanced vehicles, the share of electric/electronic add-ons has reached 40% for traditional internal combustion engine vehicles and jumped to 75% for electric or hybrid cars. This trend will accelerate as advances in semiconductor technology continue to reduce the cost of various electronic modules and subsystems.


Infotainment is one of the significant megatrends driving the popularity of microelectronics in automobiles. Users want to be connected and easily access their content on their devices, anytime, anywhere. The vehicle is just another node in the network, an extension of the user's digital and social lifestyle. "Connected" cars are also more comfortable, safer, and energy-efficient and provide early access to important information, such as weather reports, traffic congestion, or road accidents. According to a recent study, 60 percent of new cars will be connected by 2017. In this context, consumer electronics trends dictate the car's functionality, and innovation cycles are becoming shorter and shorter. At the same time, the key to this automotive infotainment innovation is the driving force of the system: memory.


High demand for memory in automotive electronics


The explosion of infotainment systems in modern vehicles has significantly impacted the market demand for semiconductor memory. In 2012, the average memory capacity of a car was estimated at $12.80, ranging from $2.0 for low-end models to more than $100 for fully equipped luxury vehicles. As a result, the total available market value of semiconductor memory in automotive applications is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than nine percent from 2011 to 2015, well above the overall CAGR of just under seven percent for the entire memory semiconductor market.


Hosted NAND: The Ideal Solution for Automotive Infotainment


New memory solutions tailored specifically for automotive infotainment systems are needed to provide additional storage for rich infotainment multimedia data and advanced software and applications. One example is the embedded multimedia card device, a non-volatile memory option. It has all the features needed to support navigation and infotainment applications, such as detailed 3D maps, traffic monitoring, weather information, car radio and multimedia, electronic calling, and voice recognition. Embedded multimedia card memory is a standardized version of the "managed NAND" memory architecture. It is a module based on a set of non-volatile NAND flash devices, managed internally by an ad hoc microcontroller (Figure 1).


Diagram of a traditional NAND memory versus a managed NAND chip with integrated intelligent features and a dedicated microcontroller for easier connection to the host processor.


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The main advantage to the user is that the memory of the embedded multimedia card is fully managed and independent of the internal NAND technology. As NAND flash geometries shrink, the technology becomes more complex to manage in terms of handling increased error correction code (ECC) requirements, wear-leveling, and bad block management. NAND flash is also variable regarding the need to update software and possibly even roadmap changes at the controller level.


Embedded multimedia card memory is backward compatible and has a standard interface, so changes to NAND are transparent to the application. This means developers don't have to bother with the complexity of using specialized software to manage NAND flash memory. Embedded multimedia card memory uses a standard interface and functions in accordance with JEDEC specifications.


For example, Micron Technology offers embedded multimedia cards (e-MMC) in various densities from 4 GB to 64 GB with an integrated 16-bit NAND controller, which provides more robust management and memory optimization than discrete NAND devices. The evolution to 256 GB modules is already defined. The next step will be to develop higher density managed NAND memory solutions such as solid-state drive (SSD) modules and higher performance 32-bit microcontrollers. Micron's e-MMC devices are available in JEDEC-compliant 100-ball, 1 mm pitch, and 153-ball/169-ball, 0.5 mm pitch BGA packages, simplifying the design and verification process automotive, which is critical for rapid product development.


The answer to automotive application needs


Quality is an important factor in the rapidly innovating in-car infotainment electronics market. With memory being the backbone of this segment, semiconductor products must meet specific automotive-grade certifications. Therefore, embedded multimedia cards have special features to meet automotive requirements, such as dedicated test boards for failure analysis. The NAND devices in these modules can be accessed without needing a controller, allowing for a complete and comprehensive check of the memory banks.


The e-MMC devices operate fully at -40 °C to +85 °C, so data written to memory at the lowest end of the temperature range remains valid when read at peak temperatures and vice versa. Power failure protection is another advantage. Embedded multimedia cards help provide drivers and passengers with a rich infotainment experience and a safe ride.


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