Infineon's new Aurix generation expands application areas

January 13, 2022 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
New Aurix generation expands application areas
Infineon's Aurix processor is an established name, especially in security-relevant applications. According to the manufacturer, it has been sold around 320 million times so far - now Infineon has presented a new TC4x generation, which is supposed to significantly increase performance by means of several additional hardware accelerators. Above all, the new version now also supports virtualisation concepts and is thus suitable for use in new areas of application.

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.

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