HONEY project helps designers to shrink complex automotive systems

June 28, 2011 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
With up to 80 networked electronic systems already in a mid-sized car, complexity increasingly becomes an issue for car designers - not only with respect inscrutable functional correlations but equally with respect to design processes and methodologies. The tight design envelope of a car means that existing systems have to become ever smaller and new ones have to be as compact as possible. This is where the findings of the recently successfully concluded HONEY ("highly optimized design methods for yield and reliability") research project come in.

Four partners joined their expertise to solve a widespread dilemma often associated with the use of smaller feature sizes: The deployment of state-of-the-art manufacturing technology did not automatically lead to smaller chips and hence compacter systems. The partners are the Institute of Microelectronic and Mechatronic Systems of the Free State of Thuringia (IMMS), semiconductor manufacturer Infineon Technologies, EDA software company MunEDA and analog/mixed signal foundry X-FAB. Honey's newly developed statistical and systematic design methods pave the way out of the predicament. They are employed in the early stage of circuit design for a new chip generation and methodically incorporate its process technology.

The methods developed within the scope of the project are already being integrated into existing design systems and will be available for chip development in about a year, Infineon said in a press release. The new design methods aim at the development of reliable chip systems in state-of-the-art manufacturing technology. In so doing, they significantly contribute to introduce a driver assistance system to the medium-sized car within the next few years.

In the Honey quartet, the partners cooperated in assigned roles: IMMS and X-FAB worked out new chip design and automation methods for analog circuits and Infineon those for the digital components. MunEDA contributed software support solutions. The new development methods also enhance product analysis and production control.

More information about the honey project can be found at https://secure.edacentrum.de/honey.