• With a six-year contract from an automotive steering product manufacturer, Motorola's Automotive and Industrial Electronics Group (AIEG) will develop and produce torque sensors for electric power-steering systems. Sensor production should appear mid-2001 for use in 2002 vehicles. Electric power steering replaces hydraulic-based systems with a lighter, more fuel-efficient alternative based on torque and/or position sensors used to determine the steering wheel's movement and position. An electronic control unit that directs operation of steering-assist motors processes sensor data.
• Also, Motorola has announced a $20 million in vestment in Lineo Inc., a developer and distributor of hard real-time Linux systems. Lineo will broaden its Linux strategy and support for all Motorola processors and boards.
• Semiconductor maker Intersil is purchasing SiCOM Inc., a fabless semiconductor manufacturer specializing in broadband modem ICs and board-level products for fixed wireless infrastructure and access equipment. Intersil currently offers wireless connectivity solutions for 11-Mbit/s operation via its PRISM WLAN chip set. With its planned IEEE 802.16-compliant products, SiCOM extends Intersil's offerings to 100 Mbits/s and beyond.
• Atmel Corp. and Siemens AG have inked a purchasing agreement worth $1.5 billion. Under the terms of this deal, Atmel will supply advanced logic, nonvolatile memories, microcontroller, and other mixed-signal devices to Siemens for the next four years. To serve Siemens' needs efficiently and cost-effectively, Atmel has acquired a fab in North Tyneside, England, which it plans to equip with CMOS, biCMOS, and SiGe process technologies.
• PCTEL Inc. and ADMtek Inc. have formed a collaborative and marketing partnership to deliver gateway solutions for home and mobile networking applications. The partners will develop a monolithic fast Ethernet 10/100 modem/
HomePNA controller with bus interfaces. The initial version will support PCI, with a mini-PCI version to follow in November. A version with a CardBus interface is also in the works.
• STMicroelectronics is closely working with a Norwegian company, Nera, to develop broadband turnkey solutions for emerging interactive digital communications applications. The companies plan to develop chip sets and related software for satellite digital set-top boxes and digital TV, supporting a variety of access methodologies. These include two-way satellite communications, high-speed Internet delivery via satellites, and terrestrial communications.