Infineon details perspectives for Aurix family, Cypress takeover

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By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The microcontrollers of the Aurix family can be found in virtually all automotive applications where Functional Safety plays a role. This applies to engine and transmission controls, brake, airbag and steering systems as well as domain control units or applications in the areas of sensor fusion and cyber security. As a companion chip, the Aurixes can be found in automotive computer platforms of practically all manufacturers; in gateways, too, they often monitor the activity of the main processor.

“The Aurix microcontrollers form a fallback level in the event of conflicting calculations or failures in the higher-level domain processor. They have properties that are of great importance for safety functions – they are fully real-time capable and offer super-fast reset times after a failure,” explained Schaefer.

With up to six processor cores plus four lockstep cores per package, depending on the model, they can provide a computing power of 3000 ASIL-D DMIPS. Infineon also mentions as another important aspect the possibility of integrating software from different security levels from different sources with the Aurix. This allows several operating systems and applications, such as steering, braking, airbag and driver assistance systems, to be hosted on a common platform.

Now, Aurix’s second-generation MCUs have received certification for the highest level of in-car functional safety as required by the ISO 26262 safety standard – ASIL D. Basically, the certification will not change anything for customers. However, smaller users in particular will have the security of knowing that they can refer to the associated documentation when developing applications in accordance with ISO 26262 – one of the most important requirements of this standard is the documentation of all development processes.

Perfect fit: How Cypress’ product porfolio could fit into Infineon’s automotive product landscape

Against this background, the Aurix family is increasingly being used beyond the car. Examples of areas of application include power and energy management, off-highway vehicles (i.e. construction and agricultural vehicles) as well as factory automation and robotics, explains Schaefer, who is responsible for the automotive microcontroller sector at Infineon. With these application environments in mind, the chip manufacturer is now planning to certify the Aurix devices according to the IEC 61508 safety standard, which is mainly used in industrial electronics.

The Infineon manager also commented on the current status of the long-planned takeover of California-based chip manufacturer Cypress Semiconductor Corp. The company is then awaiting approval from certain authorities in the U.S. and China. Based on the current status, approval is expected at the end of the first quarter or during the second quarter.

Schaefer explained in detail Infineon’s motivation for the planned acquisition of Cypress. The acquisition would complement the Munich-based company’s product portfolio, especially in the areas of connectivity and compute platforms. The same applies to the software ecosystem resulting from the surplus of Infineon and Cypress products. Especially in the automotive portfolio, Schaefer sees useful additions through the inclusion of the Cypress products, namely for the domains Body, Cluster/Infotainment and ADAS. Cypress’ NOR flash memory technology plays an important role in this. “But Cypress’s sensors, microcontrollers and connectivity products would also fit very well into our portfolio,” Schaefer said.

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