16nm automotive processors boost computing performance

June 02, 2021 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
16nm automotive microprocessors boost computing performance
With the start of production of two processors for in-vehicle use, NXP is opening the door to a new generation of computing platforms: The S32G network processors and the S32R294 family of radar processors enable a huge increase in computing power and the introduction of new electronics architectures into cars. The chips have been in development since 2017 and are now being manufactured at TSMC using advanced 16-nanometre FinFET technology.

NXP's innovations in the S32 family are designed to help automakers simplify vehicle architectures and offer continuously connected, configurable vehicles.

The S32G2 networking processors connect the vehicle to the cloud and bear the brunt of data communications between the vehicle, cloud and environment. This means that security-related functions, including cryptography, are part of their remit. Over-the-air updates are also part of their tasks. They are designed to implement service-oriented software architectures (SOA) and thus enable innovative data-based services. Examples are usage-based insurance models or secure vehicle diagnostics. The S32G2 can also be used as a domain and zonal controller for next-generation vehicle architectures. As a powerful ASIL D safety processor, it is also ideally suited for driver assistance systems up to autonomous vehicles.

By designing the S32G2 in 16nm technology, NXP was able to integrate multiple devices into a single chip, resulting in a very compact, high-performance system-on-a-chip (SoC).

The S32R294 radar processor, also in 16nm technology, offers car manufacturers the computing power they need to implement scalable solutions for future NCAP requirements. Electronics designers can implement significantly more computing power than before close to the sensor, thus relieving the communication infrastructure as well as the downstream sensor fusion instances. Applications include corner radar as well as long-range radar applications. In addition, the processor can be used for multi-modal applications such as simultaneous assistance for blind spot, lane change or height detection. The S32R294 processors are designed for safety levels up to ASIL B in standalone use, and the highest level of functional safety, ASIL D, can be achieved with mutual monitoring.

Thanks to TSMC 16nm technology, NXP's automotive processors can for the first time benefit from the advantages of advanced FinFET transistors: significantly higher performance combined with stringent automotive process qualification for reliable, safe computing performance. Paving the way for future innovations in 5nm, TSMC has a comprehensive automotive roadmap for this.

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