Multicore microcontroller supports ASIL D safety requirements

May 14, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
In the automotive industry, the aspect of functional safety increasingly gains importance in the design of new functions - in the first place for applications involved in braking and steering the car. But powertrain-related applications are also subject to functional safety considerations - for instance in automatic transmissions where today a microcomputer shifts gears. For this reasons, microprocessors and software alike become subject to the application of ISO 26262 which regulates the processes and requirements for embedded safety-related functions in cars.

A new microprocessor family, the Aurix 32-bit microcontroller from Infineon, is designed to facilitate the development of safety functions such as the control of combustion engines, electrical and hybrid vehicles, transmission control units, chassis domains, braking systems, electrical power steering systems, airbags and advanced driver assistance systems. For the same reasons, the device also is a good platform to run safety-relevant applications.

From available standard microcontrollers the Aurix distinguishes itself in that already during its development the principles described in ISO26262 have been applied, explained Ulrich Heinzenberg, Product Marketing Manager for the Aurix family. "A major aspect in this context is traceability. The design team always must be able to substantiate every single measure it took during the design process." While in currently available products the functional safety principles are applied only to the lockstep CPUs, in the Aurix family the entire circuitry has been submitted to this process, Heinzenberg said.

As a consequence, the Aurix architecture allows a significant reduction in workload to develop safety systems compliant with today's highest Automotive Safety Integrity Level, the ASIL D standard. Compared to a classical Lockstep architecture safety development efforts may be reduced by 30 percent improving the time-to-market. "For instance, safety-relevant functions can be 'incapuslated'", said Heinzenberg.

These encapsulation techniques allow integration of software with mixed-criticality levels (up to ASIL D) from different sources, enabling multiple applications and operating systems to be seamlessly hosted on a unified Aurix platform.

Besides the safety aspect, the Aurix family also offers up to 100 percent performance surplus over the TC1798 manufactured in 90nm technology, which is currently the highest performing automotive microcontroller in the market, enabling designers to implement more functionality and offering a resource buffer for future requirements. Additionally, to serve upcoming security requirements for better protection of automotive applications from theft, fraud and tampering, members of the Aurix family feature a built-in Hardware Security Module (HSM).

The Aurix microcontrollers contain three parallel