Infineon rolls next-gen powertrain microcontrollers - Embedded.com

Infineon rolls next-gen powertrain microcontrollers

MUNICH, Germany — With a new family of 32-bit microcontrollers, Infineon hopes to attract designers of next-generation powertrain ECUs. The devices allocate sufficient number crunching capacity to run sophisticated engine control algorithms required to reduce exhaust gas emissions and fuel consumption at the same time, Infineon claims.

The new microcontroller family, dubbed 'Audo Future' is based on the vendor's Tricore architecture which incorporates a main processor and a separate Peripheral Control Processor (PCP), both with 32-bit data bus, on a single chip. According to Axel Hahn, Director Application Line Powertrain for Infineon, the Audo Future line has a larger on-chip memory and runs at higher clock frequencies compared to earlier Tricore implementations.

“New EU regulations such as the Euro5 standard which will be in force from 2009 require 25 percent lower emissions. This can only be achieved by tight control of many different parameters in the motor – for instance through very exact control of valve positions, fuel injection timing and amount and ignition timing. With advanced piezo-based injection control mechanisms, the entire injection process is divided into 16 different doses for each ignition cycle,” Hahn explained. “OEMs today use complex computing models to calculate the ideal timing. This all calls for an enormous computing power.”

In addition, motor control ECUs have to deal much more with communication compared to earlier generations, he said. For this reason, the Audo Future chips have several CAN modules on board; one model is equipped with an integrated FlexRay peripheral. “We expect the OEMs to bring FlexRay-equipped vehicles into volume production in the 2010 / 2011 time frame,” Hahn explained.

In order to improve cost-effectiveness, Infineon integrated functions earlier implemented as a separate ASIC onto the microcontroller. An instance is the knock control system which is now integrated as a peripheral module and, in part, in software.

In terms of software, Infineon follows an open approach, said Hahn. While the company provides the Autosar layers required to run the communication protocols for the on-chip CAN and FlexRay controllers, these software modules also can be sourced from third parties. Operating systems are available from external partners.

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