STMicroelectronics' introduces new microcontroller for next-gen vehicles

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 22 Feb 2019

Representational Image courtesy - STMicroelectronics

STMicroelectronics, one of the leading semiconductor maker has launched its new Stellar automotive microcontroller (MCU) family, which supports next-generation car architectures that rely on broad 'domain controllers' for areas such as drivetrain, chassis, and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).

The company says the Stellar family is a technological breakthrough for automotive microcontrollers, as it combines the advantages of 28nm FD-SOI, on-chip Phase Change Memory (PCM), advanced packaging, and multiple Arm Cortex-R52 cores. The Stellar family can operate at frequencies up to 600MHz and integrate more than 40Mbytes of PCM while minimising power consumption even in harsh, high-temperature environments. The company is manufacturing the Stellar MCUs at its Crolles facility.

The major applications for Stellar MCUs include smart control for hybrid powertrain, broad electrification of car systems with on-board chargers, battery-management systems and DC-DC controllers, as well as smart gateways, ADAS, and enhanced vehicle stability controls.

The chipmaker is now sampling the first Stellar MCUs, which feature six Arm Cortex-R52 cores clocked at 400MHz, 16Mbytes of PCM, and 8Mbytes of RAM, all in a BGA516 package. Stellar-based control units are currently undergoing road tests with the company's leading customers.

"Stellar MCUs deliver the safe, real-time performance required by new domain controllers that support data-enabled services - an industry that will reach $1.4 trillion (Rs 9,956,800 crore) in 2030. They are designed to support the new software-centric architectures that will enable this new revenue stream, where the functions of several control units are integrated in larger domains with the capability to remotely install new features without compromising automotive safety and security," said Marco Monti, president, Automotive and Discrete Group, STMicroelectronics. 

Lakshmi Mandyam, vice-president, Automotive Embedded and Automotive Line of Business, Arm, said: "Next-generation automotive platforms need to meet demanding real-time and safety requirements if we're going to make applications such as autonomous driving and smart powertrain control a reality. The powerful combination of the Cortex-R52's energy-efficiency, functional safety features and high performance with ST's optimised multi-core SoC architecture delivers to the needs of these platforms."

ST says the Stellar devices will complement its SPC58 series to manage the next generation of electronic systems, the new MCUs feature unique innovations to ensure real-time performance and safety with the low power consumption vehicle designers need for lightness and economy.

The first  MCU samples combine six Arm Cortex-R52 cores with embedded non-volatile memory for fast and deterministic real-time computing, free from the delays of non-integrated memories, in addition meeting the automotive industry's demanding ISO26262 ASIL-D safety qualification by extending the Cortex-R52 cores with lockstep capabilities.

To further enhance functional safety and reliability, Stellar features a hypervisor for software separation and memory protection. Bolstering the multicore Cortex-R52 performance, it also packs three Arm Cortex-M4 cores with a floating-point unit and DSP extensions to provide application-specific acceleration.

Stellar is supported by ST's partners already in, and applying to join, the ST Partner Program, these partners bring development tools (Arm, Green Hills, HighTec, Wind River), debugging tools (iSYSTEM, Lauterbach, PLS), and software (Elektrobit, ETAS, Vector).

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