The brains behind automotive storage in the connected car: Page 2 of 5

December 10, 2019 //By Axel Mehnert, Hyperstone
The brains behind automotive storage in the connected car
The flash memory controller is a key ingredient in automotive storage and is responsible for managing a range of specific use cases and challenges.

Challenges are what have shaped the booming automotive industry. They are what continue to drive it forward. While the overall landscape is characterised by environmental decisions, notions of car ownership, and constant infrastructure developments on the roads, the technology behind storage modules has its own set of unique challenges. The most sought-after storage modules must be able to address the individual use cases within the car, behave flexibly, operate powerfully under wide temperature ranges, demonstrate considerable power efficiency and above all, be reliable.


Fig. 1: Challenges to electronics in automotive environments

Reliability is, however, an umbrella term, and can be understood differently depending on who you ask. While one may believe it reflects the error correction capabilities within the NAND flash controller, the other could acknowledge reliability can not be achieved through one singular function or feature. While the controller is the key ingredient in ensuring that these automotive (eMMC, SD, microSD or NVMe) storage modules achieve longevity without hindering endurance, this reliability is reached through an eco-system of features, to name a few, Read Disturb Management (RDM), Dynamic Data Refresh® (DDR), Read Retry  and Near-Miss ECC.

The automotive industry demands operation under wide temperatures of −40 °C to 125 °C and higher due to the heat and energy produced by the motor and the environments a vehicle can operate in. The amounts of data processed also drives storage modules to high temperatures and the device and especially the memory controller must operate unscathed through these demanding requirements. Innovations of today must also consider their environmental footprint. However, when it comes to power, it is not only the efficiency which is valuable but managing the risk of unstable power and sudden power fails. This is also the job of the flash memory controller which carries out a feature commonly known as ‘Power Fail Management’. 

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