Infineon’s new Aurix generation expands application areas
The Aurix is an implementation of Infineon’s TriCore architecture. The name refers to the originally three cores that characterised this architecture – a DSP, a RISC core and a conventional MCU. With its capability for lockstep configurations, the Aurix family is particularly, but not only, at home in application areas that place increased demands on functional safety. The new generation TC4x, which is now available as the first silicon, contains several additional elements to increase performance, including a Parallel Processing Unit (PPU) and a scalable SIMD vector processor, which is intended to cover the requirements of different AI topologies.
„We want to be in a leading position to enable new vehicle electronics architectures” explains Thomas Böhm, Senior Vice President Automotive Microcontrollers at Infineon, referring to the ongoing change in E/E architectures towards zonal or centralized approaches. The same holds true to the increasing connectivity requirements.
In addition to the higher clock frequency, the PPU also provides more performance – it alone is said to increase the computing power by 78 % for the tasks processed there. A new Signal Processing Unit (SPU) takes over calculations in the processing of radar and environmental sensor signals; it increases performance by a factor of 4 compared to a version without SPU. The security module, which is also new, offers eight times the performance. All in all, according to Böhm, the new version delivers a 60% increase in performance under ASIL-D conditions. With its updated security and safety functions, the new version should also take into account the security standard ISO 21434 and the safety standard ISO 26262-2018.
Hypervisor support is probably an even more significant feature. The new Aurix generation supports up to eight virtual machines. This means that it could also enter application areas that require a virtual operating system, such as QNX or Linux derivatives – an area in which only competitors such as Renesas or NXP are active to date.
With the new processor generation, the Infineon developers also attached great importance to accelerating the time-to-market for their customers in the automotive industry‘s own projects. To this end, the chip manufacturer is cooperating with Synopsys. The Synopsys Virtualizer Development Kit (VDK) for the TC4x enables software development at a much earlier stage of the design cycle, Böhm explained The Synopsys DesignWare ARC MetaWare Toolkit for the Aurix TC4x provides optimised compilers, debuggers, simulators and libraries needed to develop software for the PPU. Also to speed up development for customers, Matlab support for automatic code generation will also be added.
The TC4x processors are manufactured in 28nm technology. They will be delivered to selected customers immediately; the start of volume production is planned for the second half of 2024.