NXP further populates landscape of domain controllers

NXP further populates landscape of domain controllers
Feature articles |
At the start of the virtual electronica, NXP further populated the landscape of its automotive microprocessors. The new family of its S32K3 MCUs appeals above all to developers in the domain level, in particular for body, BMS and specific powertrain functions. The chips should help to cut costs and reduce the complexity of vehicle software - two weighty arguments in the increasingly digitalised vehicle electronics.
By Christoph Hammerschmidt


With the S32K3, the NXP S32 Automotive platform of gateway and domain controllers is set to advance into the area of zone controllers and edge nodes, according to the chipmaker. The software running on them can be reused across a wide range of applications, thus reducing the complexity of vehicle software development and the associated effort for car manufacturers and suppliers.  

“Software development is one of the key challenges in modern vehicle development and the S32K3 MCU family is designed to help customers meet this challenge,” said Ed Sarrat, Director of Product Management, Automotive Processing at NXP. “The S32K3 MCU family accelerates development with free drivers of automotive-grade quality, simplifies safety and over-the-air updates and streamlines safety compliance”.

The S32K3 family of microcontrollers incorporate a hardware security engine designed to address the ISO/SAE 21434 standard, which is still in development, and future OEM requirements. In addition to the hardware, NXP provides its own firmware and crypto driver to reduce the cost and complexity of third-party collaboration. The firmware maximises the performance of the hardware security engine and blocks unauthorised access to protect the integrity of the security subsystem. It can also be updated in the field to counter future cyber security threats.

Functional safety is also a key aspect of the vehicle’s electronics. In this area, the S32K3 product family offers a cross-system approach, embodied by a safety framework software, a central self-test library and hardware features such as lock-step cores, as well as clock, power supply and temperature monitoring, which facilitates compliance with ISO 26262 requirements. In addition, the S32K3 comes with the Safety Power Management IC NXP FS26. The combination of software drivers, reference designs and common safety documentation is designed to reduce the development time of safety applications.

A special Real Time Drivers (RTD) package combines low-level drivers for Autosar and non-Autosar software architectures. Car manufacturers and their suppliers can thus reuse their platforms once developed and do not have to maintain separate architectures. The RTD package is ready for production and will comply with the ISO 26262 standard, reducing the time required for code validation. 

The S32K3 family is designed for secure OTA (Over-the-Air) software updates. The advanced memory concept allows software updates to be downloaded while the existing software is still running. It has two completely separate memory areas: The software runs in one of them while a possible update is loaded into the reserve area. After a system startup, a seamless change to the updated version is automatically performed. The existing software can be retained as a rollback option.

Examples for the S32K3 application fields. The graphics also illustrates the position of the new MCU family in the automotive embedded processing hierarchy.

The scalability of the S32K3 family can be seen, among other things, in the wide range of configurable flash memory, from 512 KB to 8 MB. Up to three Arm Cortex M7 cores provide the necessary computing power.

The NXP developers have also thought about the housing. The new MCU family is the first from the manufacturer to be delivered in the new MaxQFP housing. This reduces the space requirement by up to 55% compared to a standard QFP.

Prototype samples, evaluation boards and the software package for the first product of the S32K3 family are available to Alpha customers immediately. Series production of the key devices is planned for the fourth quarter of 2021.

More information: www.nxp.com/S32K3 and FS26


Related articles:

NXP integrates Ethernet IP from Imagination

Automotive communications processor enables service-oriented architectures

Performance booster for automotive AI application developers


Linked Articles
eeNews Automotive