Lattice drives its FPGAs into automotive

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By Nick Flaherty

Lattice Semiconductor is moving its higher density FPGAs into automotive.

The Certus NX FPGA with up to 40,000 gates launched last year has been qualified to AEC-Q100 for automotive use up to 125ºC. The higher density Certus Pro-NX family launched in June is also undergoing automotive qualification for designs up to 100,000 gates.

The parts are aimed at providing interfaces for the increasingly wide range of sensors in a vehicle.

“The move to centralised architectures is great for FPGAs as its creating churn in the interfaces and not every SoC has the right interfaces so that opens up the use of FPGA,” said Deepak Boppana, Senior Director, Segments & Solutions Marketing at Lattice Semiconductor. “There’s infotainment, 5G, voice recognition, in-cabin AI is also interesting that we are looking into and the cameras in the cars can be used for smart functionality such as driver monitoring, package detection in a taxi or cab to detect if someone has left a package behind,” he said.

“Autonomous driving also requires a lot of sensors and we see the same opportunity with sensor bridging and aggregation in automotive.”

The parts are built on a 22nm FD-SOI process and so have a significantly lower power than other automotive qualified FPGAs and smaller footprint as well as a 5Gbit/s series/deserial (SerDes) interface. The Certus NX with 40,000 gates uses 190mW at 25C and 247mW at 125C

The next family, the Certus Pro-NX with 10G Serdes, is also undergoing qualification. “We will definitely be bringing the same thing for the Certus Pro-NX,” said JuJu Joyce, product marketing manager at Lattice Semiconductor

The flash-based parts also have faster configuration with 3ms for the I/O and 14ms for a full configuration to provide a fast response for critical systems such as reversing cameras. To protect bitstreams against unauthorized access, the Certus-NX FPGAs support AES-256 encryption with ECDSA; they are currently the smallest FPGAs on the market to support ECDSA.

The Lattice Radiant and Lattice Propel software tools help simplify and accelerate automotive system design. Certus-NX FPGAs are also supported by the Lattice mVision and Lattice sensAI solution stacks so designers can use the stacks’ modular hardware platforms, reference designs, neural network IP cores, and custom design services to accelerate automotive vision system design. However these are not yet supporting an ISO26262 design flow says Boppana

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