Electronic Design

New Electronics Drive Convergence 2004

Between a packed conference program and a dynamic show floor, I wasn't able to see all that was on display at Convergence. Yet I did get to see a few key technologies that will change the way we drive over the next few years.

SMaL Camera Technologies introduced its ACM100 camera, which is designed specifically for advanced automotive safety and convenience applications. SMaL's Autobrite technology enables adaptive wide dynamic range (up to 120 dB, or 500 times greater than standard CMOS or CCD cameras) for optimal performance in scenes with varied lighting. In addition, the ACM100's high near-infrared sensitivity and low-light sensitivity enhance data capture at night and contribute to overall safety system performance.

Micron Imaging announced its MT9V022 image sensor, which targets "scene understanding" applications such as Occupant Classification Systems (OCS), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Drowsy Driver, and Blind Spot Detection. Using Digital Clarity CMOS image sensor technology, the sensor provides "global shutter" to remove image tearing and enable synchronized illumination, high-dynamic range, increased near-infrared sensitivity, high performance at elevated temperatures, 60 FPS at full resolution, and up to 200 FPS at lower resolutions. Also, Micron showed its MT9V111. This complete camera system-on-a-chip operates from -40°C to 85°C and outputs full-color video at VGA resolution, so drivers can clearly identify scenes on automotive displays.

Omron Automotive Electronics has developed an advanced lidar sensor that detects both vehicles and pedestrians with high precision. The new sensor outperforms conventional lidar sensors for low-recognition detection situations, such as poor weather.

Optrex America showed new organic light-emitting diode (OLED) modules in instrument clusters from the Chevrolet Corvette and Jeep Cherokee, marking the first use of OLEDs in automotive instrument panels.

International Rectifier revealed its new LIN Protocol Power Module, the first fully qualified LIN controlled alternator voltage regulator. It uses IR's Current Sensing technology to enable dynamic control of alternator output and torque to achieve optimal battery charging, electrical system power management, and alternator-engine interaction. The module allows for dynamic control of the alternator to improve electrical system efficiency, leading to reduced engine idle speed and improved fuel economy.

Infineon Technologies announced a new family of power MOSFETs and a new family of high-side switch ICs based on next-generation trench power technology. The OptiMOS-T technology was developed to minimize on-resistance and reduce conduction losses in automotive applications.

Fairchild Semiconductor introduced smart power-switch technology offering a multichip solution based on a combination of power discrete technology, control IC technology, and innovative packaging. Compared to monolithic solutions, it provides enhanced system interface, increased device and system protection, improved control for power and current sensing, and reduced system power dissipation.

AMI Semiconductor announced the AMIS-70050, a high-side driver IC that drives virtually any load in microcontroller-based automotive and industrial control applications. It provides a medium-current, single-chip solution to the interface between a 3.3- or 5.0-V host microcontroller and virtually any physical load, including transistors, relays, solenoids, and LEDs.

Murata Electronics announced its 10.7-MHz Intermediate Frequency (IF) ceramic filter, the SFECF10M7. With bandwidth ranges between 150 and 450 kHz, it targets automotive suppliers developing wireless applications with high environmental reliability and smaller package sizes.

3SOFT, a software development service provider for embedded automotive software, has expanded its U.S. operations. The German company provides AutoSAR standard software cores. At Convergence, it also displayed a Mobile Navigation Bundle that brings GPS and mobile navigation to cell phones.

GM and Freescale Semiconductor announced an agreement in which GM will use Freescale's 32-bit MPC5500 family microcontrollers in future GM Powertrain engine control systems around the world. Standardizing control module components can ultimately reduce costs, shorten development time, and simplify the design of future GM powertain control modules.

New members of the Nexus 5001 Forum include GM and Ford as well as Motorola Automotive Electronics, Green Hills Software, Metrowerks Corp., and Wind River Systems. The Nexus Standard (IEEE-ISTO Nexus 5001) is an embedded processor development tool interface that helps design engineers rapidly identify software- and hardware-level problems in real time.

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