Germany’s industrial sector, its government, and some of its academic bodies are convinced that the country’s future international trading success will lean heavily on the development and production of competitive and reliable electronic-based systems and products. Thus, it comes as no surprise that seven German organisations have joined forces to create the “RELY Project,” an initiative for the advancement of electronic systems employed in transport, medical, and industrial automation.
The project leader of RELY, German chipmaker Infineon, recently stated that today’s automobiles use electronic components to the approximate value of €300 per vehicle, and that figure will rise to €1000 upon wider deployment of electric vehicles
Infineon also believes there will be a proliferation of electronic systems related to enhanced safety and comfort in automobiles. Applications will include recognition of speed limits, identification of pedestrians in dark locations, automatic parking systems, radar-based driver-assistance systems, and emergency call systems.
To realise such applications, processors will, of course, have to be adequately powerful. On top of that, due to safety implications, they must meet very high reliability standards similar to those required in avionics and military applications. Consequently, the RELY Project is focusing on developing electronics technology that meets the stringent requirements of such applications.
An area of particular interest is the creation of chip architectures that will allow a device to determine its operating status. Such self-test functions could provide safety alerts in areas like production plants, transportation, and medical equipment
It's In The Cards
Another research project taken up by Infineon requires chip technology to display long-term operational reliability. That comes in the form of ID cards.
This application must display both reliability and data security in order for all EU citizens to readily accept the mandatory use of ID cards. In the UK, it remains an extremely emotive issue.
However, the presentation of a final research report to the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research completes what’s been described as the most comprehensive chip-card research project conducted in Europe. Called BioPass, the electronic technologies developed in response to the project are expected to cut the operational costs of ID cards, increase data transfer between the cards and readers, and improve data security.
Research partners involved in BioPass successfully demonstrated that the data-transfer rate between electronic ID document and reader can rise from current rates of around 848kb/s to 6.8Mb/s, and theoretically could jump to 12Mb/s. In addition, the project revealed that future chip-card operating systems could be used in conjunction with the Internet without the need for additional computer software.
Over the next few years, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Switzerland intend to introduce electronic ID cards that use technologies developed in the BioPass project.